While Christmas will be an incredibly exciting time for the human members of our families, Christmas for pets can actually be quite stressful. They probably won’t be used to dealing with all of the unfamiliar visitors, decorations, and traditions that come with the festive season. So, if you want them to stay happy throughout December, you’ll need to take some steps to keep them comfortable.
Belle About Town has come up with five ways in which you can help to keep your pet happy, healthy and relaxed this Christmas. Read on to learn more!
Keep to your pet’s schedule
Christmas Day and the weeks before it can get quite hectic. There are so many presents to buy, meals to cook, and people to see that you might find it difficult to stick to your usual routine. This can be very unsettling for your pet, so you should try to keep to their usual feeding and sleep schedule as much as possible.
Also, if you have a dog, you should continue to take them on as many walks as they’re used to. If you find that you’re incredibly busy and just don’t have the time over the festive period, you could enlist someone to help. Borrow My Doggy is an organisation and app that can connect you with trusted local people who would be happy to walk your dog for you. This is ideal if you’re worried about providing your pet with enough exercise and entertainment in the lead-up to Christmas.
Give them a safe space when you have visitors
If your pet isn’t used to being around lots of people, it’s important that you create a safe space in your home that they can retreat to when they’re feeling anxious or stressed. Dogs will appreciate a room of their own that has a water bowl and all of their favourite toys. If you have a cat, a bedroom with a water bowl and litter tray would work well. Although, there’s a chance they’ll decide to hide behind a piece of your furniture instead.
Make sure that all of your guests know that, when your pet has retreated to their safe space, they shouldn’t be followed. They’ll want to be alone, so it’s important that they’re left to calm down.
Think carefully about your decorations
Christmas decorations are fun to put up, and they’re great for bringing festive spirit into your home. But, in some ways, they can pose a risk to your pets, so it’s important that you think carefully about the decorations you’re going to buy, and where you’re going to put them.
Artificial trees tend to be the best choice for households with pets, as most real Christmas trees have sharp needles that could cause your cat or dog harm. These needles are also mildly toxic, so they can cause damage if eaten.
You should also refrain from using glass ornaments wherever possible. This is because these are very fragile and will easily break if they fall from your tree. Your pet could step in — or even eat — some of the shards, which would cause them serious harm.
Tinsel can be hazardous, too. It’s shiny and fun to play with, which means your pets are likely to find it very interesting. But, it can cause a lot of problems if ingested, so it’s best to keep it away from your pets, if not out of your home altogether.
Finally, if you have a dog, it’s best to forego chocolate ornaments and baubles. If you have any of these in your home, they will be sniffed out. Chocolate is toxic to dogs so, if eaten, it can have serious consequences. It really isn’t worth the risk.
Take extra precautions if there’s going to be fireworks
Fireworks are often used to celebrate New Year’s Eve, so it’s important that you’re prepared to comfort your cat or dog if there are displays in your area as this can make for a really stressful Christmas for pets.
If you often take your dog for a walk at night time, it’s best to take them out a bit earlier over the festive season, as this will reduce the risk of you encountering any firework displays while you’re out. And, if you have a cat, blocking off any catflaps will reduce the noise, as well as prevent them from escaping if they get scared.
It’s common for pets to create a safe space for themselves when they’re anxious. If your cat or dog does this while fireworks are going off, don’t try to coax them out as this could make them feel less safe.
Finally, you should try to act normally and remain calm to let your pets know that there’s nothing to worry about. And, don’t punish your cat or dog for any behaviour that is a result of their fear. This will only make them more stressed.
If you would like more information about keeping your cat or dog calm during festive fireworks displays, Millbry Hill has a guide to keeping your pet safe and happy that will teach you everything you need to know.
Keep your vet’s number handy
Taking all of these precautions will help to keep your pets safe and happy. But, to put your mind at ease, it’s always best to have your vet’s telephone number handy. If you do encounter any problems, you’ll be able to get help quickly and easily. So, not only will Christmas be far less stressful for your pets, but you’ll have one less thing to worry about, too.
- We know your pet is a part of your family, so you’ll want them to have a great Christmas. Taking these tips on board will help you to ensure that they’re happy and healthy throughout the festive season.