The end of the year is fast approaching and more and more people are getting ready for the holiday season. This is an exciting time for many families with weekend gatherings, afternoon barbeques, time to unwind and more. While it can be a time of joy and celebration, it is important to remember that the holiday season can also present a number of challenges for pet owners.
Whether you are staying home or travelling this season, here are some tips on how to ensure that your four-legged family members stay safe and comfortable during this festive time.
Holiday Season Dangers
There are a variety of hidden dangers that can be lurking in your home during the holiday season.
Decorations, food and environmental factors – your pets can be at risk of getting into something they shouldn’t if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Some dangers to look out for include:
Food & Alcohol
Any pet owner knows that there are foods that pets cannot eat. However, the festive season often brings with it a variety of foods that may be toxic for pets. It’s important to keep any food – particularly human food like chocolate, Xylitol (sugar-free) treat, grapes, and onions – away from your pet.
Another serious danger is alcohol, as this can cause serious health problems in animals. Make sure to keep all alcoholic drinks secure and out of reach of your pet at all times.
The Dager of Decorations
Festive decorations can also pose a potential danger to your pets. Many pets are curious by nature and may get into trouble if they get too curious about your holiday decorations.
Tinsel, ribbons, and strings can be attractive to cats but can cause choking or blockages in their digestive system if ingested. Candles and lights are also potential hazards that should be kept away from pets.
Try to avoid decorations that are easily breakable such as fragile Christmas trees or glass ornaments that can be easily broken by a curious pet. Similarly, be sure to supervise your pet if you’re using lit candles or string lights as these can be a fire hazard.
Gatherings, Fireworks and Parties
With the festive season comes long-awaited gatherings with friends and family. This can be an especially stressful time for your companions as they may not be used to the hustle and bustle of a large gathering.
If your pet is particularly sensitive to noise from people and firewoprks, try to find a quiet room where they can retreat to if they become overwhelmed – don’t forget food, water and access to fresh air! A toy and treat are also a good idea to keep busy pets calm and occupied
Many plants are associated with the holidays such as poinsettias, ivy and lilies. While these may look pretty to us, they can be very dangerous for your pets if ingested. It’s important to make sure that your pet has no access to any of these festive plants.
Much like children, our furry children must be closely watched when around large bodies of water such as pools, lakes and the ocean. Be sure to keep your pet within sight at all times and look out for any signs of distress
Travelling During The Holiday Season?
If you are travelling away from home this season, make sure that you take all necessary steps to ensure your pet is healthy, happy and comfortable.
Travel With A Pet
If you are planning a getaway with your pet, check with your vet first to make sure your companion is healthy enough to travel and are up to date on their annual vaccinations. Ensure that they have a secure and comfortable pet carrier suitable for their size and age. Also, ensure that the carrier is big enough to fit food and water dishes as well as any other items your pet will need during the journey.
With car journeys, ensure that you always have a safety belt on your pet and make regular stops to give them the opportunity to stretch, rest and go to the toilet. Similarly, never leave your pet in the car unattended – it only takes a few minutes for the temperature to rise and for your pet to get heat stroke!
Whether you are travelling by car or plane, ensure your pet is microchipped and has their relevant paperwork with them. Also, make sure you have the contact details of a vet at your destination in case an emergency arises.
There are a number of ways to keep your pet comfortable when you are travelling. This includes putting them into a reputable kennel or cattery. While this may be expensive, you can enjoy your getaway knowing your pet is safe and well cared for.
However, if your companion is not suitable in a kennel or cattery and may experience anxiety in a new environment, a pet sitter is a great alternative, as your pet will be cared for as well as experience less stress in a familiar environment.
Put Your Pets First
Your pets are like family and they need to be taken into consideration during the holiday season. With a little bit of preparation and research, you can ensure their safety and make sure that everyone has an enjoyable festive season!
If you need a little help, The House Call Vet are here to help! We are a Brisbane-based vet that can provide the best possible care for your pet – at home or in our clinic!. Whether you need advice on travelling safely with a pet or tips to keep them safe during the festive season, contact us today!