Pets experience a lot of disruption to their familiar daily routine during the busy Christmas holiday period.
Whether you’re having guests stay at your house, you plan on going away, or you’re simply going to be home more often than usual, here are our top tips for helping your furry friends adjust to the silly season with ease.
1. Prepare for the fireworks
Most dogs and cats are naturally afraid of loud noises, and New Year’s Eve fireworks are certainly loud! It’s essential to provide your pets with a safe place to hang out while the fireworks are on. Put together a cosy bed in their favourite corner or snuggle up with them on the sofa. Ensure your backyard is escape-proof and tire them out during the day so they’re less likely to have the energy to bolt. When the fireworks are on, keep them distracted with a toy or a dog chew.
2. Oh, Christmas tree
Christmas trees, ornaments, tinsel, fairy lights…there are so many hazards you need to protect your pets from at Christmas time. If you have fairy lights, be sure to put them on a soft glow setting. Strobe or flashing light settings can frighten your dog and cause your cat to chase the lights, putting them at risk of burns and electric shock if they inadvertently bite through the wire. Keep decorations that make noise to a minimum and steer clear of candles or scented ornaments that will mess with your home’s familiar smells.
3. Keep them cool
There’s no doubt about it, Australian Christmases are HOT. And the heat is only amplified when you’re cooking fancy Christmas meals in your oven or on your BBQ, and your house is crowded with guests and family members. When you’re busy rushing around cleaning the house, chatting with your guests and checking on the roast turkey, it’s easy to forget about topping up your pet’s water bowl. So make sure you set a reminder on your phone to check in with them every hour or so.
4. Babies and children
If your pets don’t typically live in a household with babies or kids, Christmas family gatherings can be an overwhelming ordeal for your furry friend. While they might have the best intentions, kids who don’t own pets themselves can be annoying and impatient with your fur babies. To protect them from hair pulling, tail tugging and eye poking, ask your friends and family to supervise their children closely. Make sure new babies are acquainted with your dog before you let them play together too.
5. Toxic foods
The lure of chocolate treats, fruits, nuts and delicious homemade meals is strong at Christmas time. And while your pets may love them in the moment, toxic foods can stress your pets out and be very dangerous if consumed in large amounts. To keep them happy, safe and calm, ensure food is kept on tables out of reach, covered with cling wrap or foil, and that your bin is emptied regularly. Your pets may not be able to get into your bin directly, but the unfamiliar smells and temptation will drive them stir crazy. Don’t give in to their cute puppy dog eyes!
6. Professional care
If you plan to go away over the Christmas break, the best way to keep your pets calm is to drop them at Samford Pet Resort. Make sure the people caring for them are trained professionals so that they’re well looked after, and you can rest easy on your holiday knowing they’re in good hands. Surrounded by lush greenery and peaceful bushland, Samford Pet Resort is the perfect place for your pets to play and run around freely. Your kitty can lounge in the sun and breathe in the fresh hinterland air.
7. Maintain the same routine
If you wake up at 6 am every morning to let your pets outside, make sure you continue to do this at the same time over the Christmas break. It can be tempting to sleep in when you’re on holidays, but consistency will help your pets feel safe, calm and secure. Disrupting their routine will only confuse them and cause distress.
8. Stock up on pet medication
If your pet relies on medication, make sure to double check your supplies before your vet closes down for the break. There’s nothing worse than driving for hours and hours to the nearest open veterinary clinic on Christmas day, because your dog or cat has an allergic reaction. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
9. Christmas outfits
Okay, we know doggy Santa hats and elf costumes are adorable. But remember that not all pets are into cute outfits. If your pets are stressed out and upset when you or your Christmas guests put clothes on them, please respect their wellbeing and remove the items immediately. Dog’s can overheat easily in bulky clothing, especially in summer. You can still get them into the festive spirit with Christmas leashes, collars and pet treats.
10. Pets will pick up on your stress
Worried about your in-laws coming to stay? Stressing over your Christmas dinner? Arguing with your spouse about how to hang the Christmas lights? Slow down, breathe, relax. When you’re stressed, your pets will be stressed too. It’s amazing how much emotion they can pick up on. So try to remain calm. It’s Christmas after all! Now is the perfect time to kick back and take the weight off your shoulders.