It’s Wuff-mas time!

December 30, 2013 in Newsletters

Pets are a big part of a lot of families and over 75% of pet owners love to treat their pets with something special at Christmas time.

Your gift for your pet doesn’t have to cost much money and many pets will appreciate the things that are completely free, like a favourite game, a special bit of fuss or an extra walk with your dog – which will help you to burn off some of the extra Christmas calories too! I am sure you will appreciate the quality time spent with your pet just as much as they will.

It can be fun to give your pet presents or prepare a Christmas stocking, but do make sure you buy such items from a reputable pet shop and that your toy or treat is pet-friendly. For those of you who are feeling the crunch, money-saving presents are easy to make yourself.  Find an empty cardboard box and stuff it with used, torn wrapping paper and turn it into a lucky dip by hiding your pet’s favourite treats inside. You could also make it that little bit more challenging for them by closing it off completely and piercing the outside of the box to let the smell out.

Christmas time can also be quite scary for animals as there are usually a lot of new noises, smells and sights. Cats and dogs can get very upset with lots of new people coming in and out of the house.  Make sure they have a quiet area within the house where they can seek refuge and be surrounded by familiar things. Make sure they have access to water.

Christmas trees and decorations can be a hazard for pets. They are perceived as extra interactive toys around the house and they can be very tempting to play with and chew. Wires and lights are also a chewing and entangling hazard for your pets. Always make sure to keep your pets away from trees and decorations while out of the house and consider keeping trees off the floor and out of reach, if your pet will not leave them alone.

Never be tempted to share your Christmas dinner with your pets. Instead, treat them by giving them pet-specific treats and possibly a new toy.  Never feed your pets turkey carcasses as the bones may split into pieces with pointed edges once swallowed.

Keep your pets away from boxes of chocolates. Chocolate poisoning is actually one of the most commonly encountered poisonings in pet dogs.  Even a small amount of chocolate can be dangerous to dogs that are sensitive to it. Grapes and raisins can also cause kidney failure, so no Christmas pudding, mince pies or Christmas cake for your furry friends!

As a parting note, please remember that an animal is for life and not just for Christmas. Do not be tempted to give a new pet as a gift unless you are certain that the person receiving the gift is fully aware of the responsibilities involved and is ready to take on the commitment. Sadly, too many pets given as gifts end up in sanctuaries once the festivities are over and the novelty wears off.

Dr Victoria Bondin
EFRU Volunteer