At Christmas: Keeping your pets calm

Christmas can be a chaotic time for us and our pets, with family and friends visiting. They may bring small children or even their own pets so we’d like to help with some top tips for keeping your pets calm this Christmas.

Dogs

  • Give your dog a safe place. If possible provide them with a cosy den or area that they can escape to with their toys and treats.
  • As much as Christmas is a busy time of year, don’t forget to give your dogs plenty of exercise. Walks can give your dog chance to burn off some energy when their home routine may be disturbed by Christmas dinners, new people and presents getting in the way.
  • Pet Remedy or DAP diffusers can help to calm your pet with herbal remedies or calming pheromones. These can be sprays, wipes, collars or plug in diffusers. Ideally put them in place as soon as possible before the anxious/stressful event occurs so they have time to work.
  • Try to keep to their normal routine with food and walks. Feeding at their normal times will hopefully prevent destructive behaviour or scavenging.
  • Keep the radio/TV on and draw curtains to dull the sounds of fireworks or partying outside.
  • Avoid any toxins or hazards this Christmas – watch out for your dog eating the wrapping paper or tinsel especially as the festivities take place whilst everyone might be a bit distracted! A new chew can help to provide your pet with a safer way of keeping busy this Christmas.
  • If your dog is going to be looked after by a pet sitter or kennels this Christmas, make sure they have up to date contact details for you and your vet in case they have any issues. Toys and bedding which smell like home might help to relax your pet.

 

Cats

  • Give your cat the free roam of the house. Let them choose if they want to interact with guests or whether they prefer to hide away in a safe spot. Give them a den with a comfy bed, a litter tray, food and water and some toys and treats. Avoid dens around windows and doors as your cat might feel threatened by other cats or animals looking in. A few dens around your house will allow your cat to choose where they prefer to relax.
  • Just like Bonfire night, we recommend to keep your cat in from early evening until the next morning (if it doesn’t stress them too much) to avoid them being frightened by fireworks and festive partying.
  • Feliway or Pet Remedy can work well just like with the equivalent products for dogs to help calm your cat. New people, presents, smells and noise can all stress your feline friend out so get these products in place early before the anxiety occurs.
  • If you notice your cat over-grooming, urinating abnormally or having changes to their normal appetite or routine, we would advise to go to your vets. Stress related grooming or cystitis are just some of the ways our cats show us how they are feeling. These can progress to serious conditions if ignored so speak to your vet about treatments to relieve the symptoms.
  • Watch out for toxins and hazards this Christmas. Tinsel is one of the commonest foreign bodies at this time of year for cats – where your cat could eat the tinsel and then it gets stuck in their stomach and intestines. Avoid any play with these kind of items for your cat.
  • If your cat is going to be looked after by a pet sitter or cattery this Christmas, make sure they have up to date contact details for you and your vet in case they have any issues. Taking items which smell like home can help to calm your cat down in their new environment.

 

Small Animals

  • It’s important to consider small animals in the colder weather. They may need bringing indoors or more bedding to help them build a warmer area to sleep in. If you bring your pet inside, watch out for electric cables – especially the Christmas tree lights which can seem like a tasty treat for some small animals.
  • Don’t change your pet’s diet. Small changes can affect our small pets in a big way either causing a slowing down or a speeding up of their intestines leading to bloat or diarrhoea. A few treats can be fine but just like us, it’s important not to overindulge!
  • Keep to the normal routine. Rabbits and other small animals rely on eating constantly so their guts keep moving. Even if you fancy a lie in, make sure your small animals are fed and watered before the festivities get in the way!

 

We hope you and your pets enjoy the festive period.

If well managed, the holidays can be happy for all involved so we hope our advice helps!