As one of the biggest and busiest celebrations of the year, Christmas is a very exciting time for everyone. However, for many animals, the business can cause anxiety. The following tips from Rachel van der Vliet, animal groomer at Pip's Palace, will help keep your pets happy this Christmas.
An increase in visitors can be stressful for pets if they are not used to having so many new people around in a short space of time. Make sure your pet has a calm place that it can go to, such as a crate or basket, in a more secluded part of the house, where it won’t be disturbed.
Watch over children
Make sure that you keep an eye on young children that are visiting and that they are supervised around your pet, especially if they do not have pets of their own. In the latter case, they won’t be familiar with ‘pet etiquette’ and what your animal might find annoying or frightening.
Bad weather and a busier schedule can affect a dog’s exercise routine. Although unadvised, if you cannot take your dog out on certain days, make sure they are getting the stimulation they need at home, so they don’t become restless and irritable.
Check their paws
Come winter, we often walk our dogs more on the roads to avoid the muddy fields, but remember to check your dog’s paws after a walk. The rock salt from gritting roads is very harsh on the skin and can also be harmful if digested by a dog when licking its paws. Soak your dog’s feet in warm water when returning home to remove the substance.
Watch for the bangs
The run up to Christmas and New Year includes a multitude of firework displays, which pets may find distressing. Try to prepare your pet in advance, desensitising them to firework sounds, throughout November and early December. You could do this by playing firework noises quietly in the background on YouTube and then gradually over several days increase the volume until your pet is oblivious to the louder bangs.
A Christmas haircut
Make sure you keep your dog’s grooming routine regular over the Christmas months. You might think that leaving your dog’s hair longer will keep it warmer, but just remember, longer hair can mean more matted hair and this is extremely uncomfortable too, as it pulls on the dog’s skin.
There are many anxiety relief products for your pets available on the market, which can be worth investing in if they are particularly susceptible stress and loud noises. Examples include products such as Adaptil, which produces a range of scents that diffuse pheromones to calm your dog or cat. Thundershirt is a dog coat /wrap which provides a "therapeutic hug" controlling and calming anxiety through your dog’s acupressure points. Always seek advice from your vet if you are considering using pheromone diffusers for your pets and always try products in advance.
A regular diet
Many of us think that our pet deserves a Christmas meal of its own during the festive season, however many ‘human foods’ can be toxic for our pets. Christmas pudding and mince pies contain currents and raisins which are poisonous to dogs and suet can cause stomach complaints and pancreatitis. Bones from carcasses once cooked become brittle and can splinter in our dog’s digestive tracts or cause obstructions and perforation.Last modified: November 22, 2016