Christmas with pets: 10 top tips

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Sharing our life with a furry friend has taught us this: a little preparation goes a long way. And as Christmas fast approaches, our resident vet Louise shares her top tips for fun, safe and pet-friendly festivities… 

1. Stick to your pet’s normal routine

The holidays are a super busy time of year, and it can be really overwhelming for pets when they don’t know if they are coming or going. Routine is very important for cats and dogs alike, so do your best to make sure their routines, especially around feeding times, exercise and bedtime, are as consistent as you can during the holiday period.   

2. Care with toxic plants

Did you know that many plants are toxic to pets, including a few of our Christmas favourites? If chewed or eaten, poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and ivy can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive salivation and inappetence.  

3. Care with decorations

Dogs and cats love to play with all the glittery, sparkly and light-up decorations that pop up around the house during December, but these can be dangerous to our curious furry friends. Eating decorations like tinsels and ribbons, can cause vomiting and serious gut blockages and Christmas lights can cause burns and electrocutions, so make sure you keep decorations and wires out of reach of your pets. 

4. Stock up on essentials

With the cost-of-living crisis and inflation we are experiencing, it helps to take advantage of the offers and promotions on the products our pets need and love. We like to stock up on all their essentials before the Christmas rush, making the most of any special offers in the process.

5. Keep an eye on what your pet is eating

Although we love to spoil our pets, allowing them to overindulge during the Christmas holidays can lead to very upset tummies. Christmas dinners are usually cooked with lots of fats and oils, and large quantities of fatty foods can trigger pancreatitis (a painful inflammation of the pancreas). Keep an eye on the volume of treats and titbits your pet is eating – only feed foods and treats that are suitable for them, and make sure the majority of what they are eating is their normal, complete balanced diet.  

6. Make a safe space

There’s nothing like a big family and friends’ holiday get-together, but having a lot of visitors in your home can be scary for your pet. Making a safe space or den at home for your pet to safely retreat to if they want to, can really help to reduce their stress. A natural calming diffuser can also help your pet to unwind, by creating a relaxing atmosphere in their safe spot.  

7. Watch out for toxic Christmas food

A lot of the special Christmas foods and drinks we like to enjoy at this time of year are toxic to our pets. This includes mince pies, chocolate, fruit cake, macadamia nuts, alcohol, garlic, onions, wine and grapes. Keep toxic food items well out of reach of your pets and if you are spending Christmas with friends and family, ask them nicely to not give your pets any foods without your permission first to help avoid any emergency vet visits!  

8. Buy Christmas presents

Did you know almost three-quarters of pet owners like to spoil their pets at Christmas with a present or two? With more pet Christmas treats, toys, stockings and accessories available now than ever before, why not let your pet join in the festivities with a present from Santa Paws on Christmas day?  

9. Be seen!

As the cold, dark nights are drawing in, it’s important to make sure you and your pets stay visible when you are out and about at night. Reflective and light up collars, leads and harnesses can help keep you and your pets safe, especially around busier roads.  

10. Rest… and relax

With all the shopping, cooking and non-stop preparations for Christmas, it’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of it: sharing beautiful moments with our loved ones. So make sure you set aside time to pause, reflect and do nothing. Our advice: snuggling under a blanket with your furry pal is the perfect way to recharge batteries.

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