The festive season means our pets suddenly find their homes filled with intriguing decorations, unfamiliar food and noisy house guests. Although we may enjoy the festive fun, all of the extra hustle and bustle can be stressful and even hazardous to our pets.
Sparkly decorations and Christmas lights look appealing to play with but could be dangerous if swallowed or chewed. Turn off electrics when out of the room and don’t be surprised if your kitty wants to climb your tree – stop them and shut the door when you’re not around.
Chocolate, onions, raisins and certain nuts are poisonous to many pets. Remember that stuffing, Christmas pudding and mince pies all contain these ingredients, plus cooked bones can splinter and cause a choking hazard. Alcohol is also a major poison to pets so keep drinks well out of reach.
Loud noises, lots of people, fireworks and other party situations can be very stressful for your pet, so provide them with a “safe place” – a quiet hide-out room or area where they know they won’t be disturbed but do not shut them in. Leave their favourite toys and treats there to keep them occupied and buy a pet diffuser which helps calm their nerves.
Holiday time means car journeys, catteries and kennels. Buckle up your pets so they are not loose in the car, buy pet car-sickness tablets if your pet doesn’t travel well and ensure vaccinations are up to date before leaving your moggies and doggies in catteries and kennels.
Cold weather chemicals – particularly anti-freeze which cats love the sweet taste of – can cause serious illness and even death in pets. Batteries from toys can burn the stomachs of curious dogs that chew them, so be vigilant about things left lying around that your pet seems intrigued by.
Many pets have fur coats, but they get cold too. Outdoor guinea pigs and rabbits need a warm, dry, draft-free home at all times so consider moving them indoors or in to a shed for the winter and check their water isn’t frozen throughout the day. Dry off dogs and cats when they come inside and remove any snow balls from their coats as quickly as possible.