Keeping pets safe amidst the festive frivolities

Dec 13, 2022

A home filled with laughter and good cheer is on the Christmas wish list for many this year as we venture into one of our first more ‘normal’ festive seasons post the pandemic restrictions. Whilst this is our hope for the silly season, your pets may not be feeling the same way. Social overwhelm can often affect them sooner than it does you. Even the most social and friendly of dogs needs some quiet and alone time during the noise and chaos of the Christmas holiday season. How can we keen our pets safe and content whilst still revelling in our festive frivolity?

A bit of foresight and planning can go a long way to keeping our fur family members feeling comfortable. While the average cat will take matters into their own hands and avoid too many visitors, if you think your dog may be overwhelmed with a visitor onslaught, perhaps allocate a room for your pooch that is to become the safe space? Here they can feel protected and enjoy a delicious chew or play with a filled Kong. This can be especially settling during the more hectic times such as people arriving and leaving. Some calming music or having the TV on in the room can also help to help mask the sounds of activity going on elsewhere.

Even the most social of pets might feel overwhelmed with the constant parade of cheer, so it can be helpful to know what signs to look for to indicate that your usually amicable companion is needing a little alone time. Dogs might exhibit behaviours like licking their lips or showing the whites of their eyes as stress indicators. Other signs that your dog does not welcome attention might include walking away or hiding under furniture, fur raising on their back, or being very still and staring at the source of the bother.

Dogs who are usually very tolerant of affection may also wane in their love of hugs and kisses when they are in abundance. It can be wise to ask people, especially children, not to hug or smother your pooch with affection in group situations, when there is already a higher than normal presence of stressors in their world.

Many visitors will take it upon themselves to offer treats to a friendly fur child who is roaming around a gathering, but there are a host of foods common to festive celebrations that not only not suitable but also possibly toxic to our pets! Discourage guests from feeding animals and be careful with discarded plates or leftovers lying around. Things like onion, garlic, macadamia nuts, avocado, grapes, fatty meats, cooked bones, and chocolate are all common Christmas fare, but even just a small amount of chocolate might find you spending the rest of your Christmas party at the vet hospital. If you are having guests stay over, be mindful of access to bags that might also have foods or medications that animals might be able to get their noses into, as these will also be dangerous and dampen the festive feels for your family and guests.

A little prevention, planning and communication will go a long way to ensuring you can have the merriest of Christmas gatherings, with a happy and healthy pet to enjoy when the dust settles on the festive fun. For more ideas on how to keep your fur family relaxed and safe this holiday season, contact the friendly team at Vetmed. Our experienced team have seen lots of do’s and don’ts over the years and are here to help you herald in the new year healthily and happily.