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For all you need to know and to get prepared for the festive season, we have it covered...
C = Chocolate and sweets
We all love to eat chocolate at Christmas, but it is no good for pets! Chocolate contains a compound call theobromine which is toxic to dogs and cats. Keep chocolate away from pets! This is especially important if you have wrapped chocolates under the tree. Curious pets may find the present and ingest your aunties chocolate truffles! If your pet ingests chocolate of any kind, contact your vet immediately. Same goes for sweets or chewing gum containing artificial sweetener or Xylitol.
H = Ham and other fatty foods
Christmas meats such as ham and turkey scraps can often be too rich in fat and salt for pets. Excessive fat on the meat can cause pancreatitis, and cooked bones can splinter and cause intestinal blockages. Don’t throw your dog the ham bone! Treat your dog to a fresh raw bone such as a turkey neck or wing (if they are used to eating raw bones) which is much healthier for them.
R = Rest zone, crate or den
Make sure your pet has a rest zone to go to such as a crate, den, bedroom, mat or somewhere they can get away from all the busy holiday activities. This should be an area where pets can be quiet and calm – a no go zone for humans, especially children.
I = Identification
If you’re going away with your pets, make sure they have up to date identification details on their collar and microchip. If not taking your pets with you, make sure to include contact phone of the person looking after your pet if you can’t be contacted.
S = Supervision
Christmas is a time when everyone is at home and visitors and family come to stay. Crowds, noise, parties, games etc can all be stressful for your pets too. Please make sure to assign one adult to supervise each pet at all times. If you can’t do this, then the pets should go into a safe zone such as a den, bedroom or crate to ensure everyone is safe. It doesn’t matter how much your pets love new people, they all have their limits, just like us!
T= Tinsel and other decorations
Make sure you keep decorations out of reach of your pets as they can be very dangerous. Curious pets are attracted to shiny objects and if swallowed can lead to expensive surgery! A good idea is to put a barrier such as an ex pen around your tree, hang tempting ornaments up high, and prevent access to the tree by using baby gates.
M= Modified hours for veterinary care
Make sure you know the opening hours of your local and emergency vets over the holidays. Only certain vets are open on public holidays in Brisbane. If your pet is staying with friends or at a boarding kennel, make sure they know the nearest vet to take your pet to in the case of an emergency.
A = Anxiety/Adaptil
Adaptil is a synthetic pheromone designed to help dogs through challenging and stressful times. One of these times may be over Christmas when you are having lots of parties and visitors (= noise and stress). It comes in a collar, spray or diffuser from vets or online pet supply stores.
Feliway is the cat version to purchase.
Also consider other products such as Zylkene, a natural calming supplement that may help your pet during the holiday season.
If you are concerned about how your pet will cope, please contact us and we may also refer you to a Behaviour Vet.
S = Storms and stress
Summer in Australia is typically storm season and unfortunately, a lot of pets are terrified of the thunder and lightning. Make sure your pet has somewhere safe to go such as a crate or den. The use of thundershirts, adaptil and flower essences can help. See our article on Thunderstorms for more info.
Have a safe and enjoyable Christmas!