Christmas with your pet | Village Vets
Dog

Compared to this time last year, many of us will be having a more social Christmas; whether it’s spent with close friends and family or with our pets. However, there are hidden dangers lurking in the shadows cast by trees, decorations and tables full of food.

With that in mind, there are signs you can watch for and steps you can take to ensure that the last of 2021 passes without having to visit us!

 

Fireworks

Fireworks, all things considered, are a huge stressor for pets. Your mind will instantly leap to barking dogs whenever fireworks are mentioned, but dogs aren’t the only animals affected; horses can spook, rabbits can panic, birds can literally have heart attacks, fish… well, fish aren’t too bothered.

Now is a good time to think about how you can mitigate the inevitable; whether you have access to a room with good sound dampening or if you can pad out your animal’s enclosure with noise reducing materials. If nothing else, you can always keep your pet company when you know fireworks are due to go off (a la New Year’s Eve); by seeing how calm and collected you are, they will know that there’s nothing to be afraid of!

 

Visitors and Guests

Having friends and family over is a common staple of the festive period and there’s no doubting that many will be travelling during Christmas to spend precious time with the ones they hold most dear. However, this can be a strange time for your pet!

If you’re having family over that aren’t normally over, we encourage you to introduce your pet slowly and gradually to these visitors. This is the best way to avoid a stand-off with what your pet may perceive to be a threat. This gradual introduction also ensures that your pet has the appropriate time to get used to a new person’s smell, their sound and their appearance.

If your guests plan on bringing their own pet over to join in the celebrations, arranging a playdate with your two pets is a must. This will give both owners a chance to see how their furry-friends interact with one another and will decide if they should be kept separate when the occasion finally arrives.

 

Dog

 

Indoor/Outdoor

It’s a matter of personal opinion, but with the weather gradually becoming colder we often recommend that pets be brought indoors during this time of year. Of course, this simply isn’t feasible for many owners, so adapting your pet’s outdoor living quarters to colder climates is the best course of action. A weighted blanket or soft pet bed can make a world of difference on a chilly December night. For smaller animals such as rabbits, it’s imperative that you begin providing extra bedding. Rabbits instinctively search for bedding materials as the weather grows colder, so keep your bunny happy by giving them the necessaries they desire.

 

Sweets, Chocolates and Decorations

While a lot of the festivities surrounding Christmas and the New Year include gatherings and setting off fireworks; chocolates, sweets, crisps, drinks and decorations (of all things) are plentiful too. It is very easy for kids and adults alike to forget that cats and dogs are unable to eat chocolate or sugar-free sweets. Always be aware of sweets you let fall on the ground as most pets will instantly lick them up or scurry off with them.

 

If you do own a pet and you're hosting a socially-distant gathering, make sure that your furry companion is kept well away from the main thoroughfare of guests and revellers. A quiet back room is ideal for this purpose, as long as the animal has plenty of food and water and is regularly checked-in on.

 

Glitter, lights and decorations also pose a risk to your pet’s health, so if you see them running off with a bauble or string of tinsel be sure to get it off of them! This is especially pertinent for climbing cats that have a penchant for destruction – a cliché if there ever was one. While we can’t offer a solution to keeping your cat out of the Christmas tree, the hallmarks of a feline out for your tree’s blood include: a sharply wagging tail, dilated pupils, darting between furniture and stalking your tree as if it were prey. You’ll know from past Christmases anyway what way your cat will behave around your festive centrepiece – as always, vigilance is key!

 

We hope these tips will help you and your pets have an especially joyous and safe Christmas this year! Don’t be afraid to get in touch if you have any queries regarding the festive period or are in need of some pet advice. We’re always on call to help!

 

From all of us here at Village Vets, Nollaig Shona duit!