Caring for Pets During the Holiday Season

The holiday season means bringing the family together and many couldn’t imagine a gathering without their pets. The problem is, the chaos of the holidays can be stressful for an animal to deal with, especially if you take them to a strange place or have lots of people staying over. Here’s how to take care of your pets during the busy holiday season.

If They’re Anxious, Arrange for Pet Care

If you have a pet who’s still quite young and not quite used to people — or who is generally anxious around crowds — then it might be worth looking at pet care over the holidays. Vets such as Heart + Paw offer stays for pets in comfortable, calm surroundings, or you could find a local kennel you’ve used before. While you might miss your pet on Christmas morning, it’s better than stressing them out and potentially having them lash out because of anxiety.

Pet-Proof Your Home

The holiday season can bring a number of things that are hazardous to pets. While chocolates are a lovely gift, and you’ve no doubt stocked up on the sweet stuff, it can be lethal to dogs if they get into your stash. Thoughtful friends might send you bouquets, but you should check for any flowers that are poisonous for pets, so you can avoid a last-minute dash to the emergency vet.

Introduce New People Carefully

If your dog is happy to meet new people, then sure, they might love coming to your holiday party. However, you should introduce people in a calm environment, not overwhelm the dog by letting lots of kids play with them. Make sure your dog has an escape route such as their crate where they can go and be left alone if they feel overwhelmed.

Avoid Feeding Them Holiday Scraps

The obesity epidemic isn’t just limited to humans, many pets are also getting overweight due to poor diets and treats. During the holiday season, it can be tempting to feed your cat table scraps or let your dog have a slice of turkey, but there can be many reasons why this is a bad idea. Lots of foods that we love can be bad for pets — even deadly — and it can encourage bad feeding habits. Once your pet enjoys a taste of turkey, they may not want to go back to pet food and may get fussy, so it’s better to keep them away from the treats.

Don’t Let Them Make Toys out of Decorations

While it might look cute to see your pets playing with holiday decorations, it poses many potential problems for your pets. Over the holidays, vets will see lots of cats and dogs who’ve swallowed glitter or other decorations, while broken baubles can leave shards that are dangerous to sensitive paws. The holiday season can be a stressful time for pets with lots of noise, strange people and hazards around the house, which means that you need to make extra effort to keep them safe, so that they too, can have a happy holidays.

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