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Ten tips for pet owners this Christmas

Christmas is one of our favourite times of year. The month of December can fly by so it can be helpful to take a moment to think about how to prepare for the festive season from your pets point of view.

Here are our top ten tips for a fantastic Christmas with your pets:

1. Avoid putting chocolate or candy on the Christmas tree. Both can cause toxicity and gastric upsets in cats and dogs.

2. Plants used to decorate the home around Christmas such as Mistletoe and Poinsettias can be toxic to pets- place on a high shelf or out of reach if you would like to display these in your home.

3. Nothing beats the smell of a real Christmas tree but beware the needles when shedding can be stood on by dogs and be quite painful. Prevent this by sweeping under the tree daily

4. Decorations! Anyone with a cat knows how attracted they are to a shiny tree filled with baubles and glittery things. Try and restrict access to the tree itself and make sure ornaments are securely fastened to trees and other furnishings in the home. Check daily for anything missing or out of place. Sometimes cats can eat bits of string or ribbon when playing and this can create a blockage in the intestines.

5. Christmas is a time of great food. Be careful not to offer too many human leftover food or snacks from the table as this can lead to problems like gastroenteritis or pancreatitis which can need hospitalisation to fix.

6. Make sure the rubbish is secure. Every year vets across the country see pets who have gotten in to the rubbish and sneaked a few bones out or other non digestible items. This again can need surgery to fix so prevention is key here. Try making sure all rubbish bags are tied and placed inside another rubbish bin ideally with a lid that can be clamped/weighted down to prevent access.

7. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date if you are planning to book into the kennels or cattery. You also need an up to date vaccination record as proof. Most kennels and catteries will not accept your pet without proof of vaccination and if you clinic is closed there is no way to prove it! Be organised and book your pet in for their vaccinations before the Christmas rush.

8. Make sure you have enough of your pets regular medication, flea and worm treatment and food supply to allow for public holiday closures and any vacation you have planned. There is nothing worse than running out when everything is closed!

9. Christmas can be a great way to catch up with the family and friends we haven’t seen in a while. Whilst large gatherings can be fun for us not every pet enjoys loud music and lots of strangers in the home. Try and give your pet a safe space to go and spend time in by themselves if they need it. The comfort of their own bed in a quiet room can often be very soothing.

10. Remember to spend time with your pet this Christmas. Lots of routines can go a little bit of the rail and if your dog isn’t getting their daily walk this can affect their health, mood and mental state. If you don’t have time for a full walk even just a potter to the end of the road to get some fresh air, a change of scenery and a few sniffs in will massively help your pet cope with the Christmas season.

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