Christmas, while for most a wonderful time of year, can be stressful and unsettling for others, including our pets.
Most of us overindulge at Christmas, not only with food but with visitors and activities as well. With visitors in the house pets can sometimes be overlooked, their space can be invaded and your pet can behave in ways in which they wouldn’t usually. Little puddles appearing unexpectedly with pets forgetting their toilet training, or other inappropriate behaviours, can be a sign that your pet is stressed. You need to make sure that your pet has some respite from all the celebrations and can have time out when needed.
Other issues at Christmas can be dietary. Too much rich or fatty food can cause gastroenteritis or pancreatitis in your pet, both painful and uncomfortable conditions. It is a good idea to ensure your pet’s basic diet stays the same, and guard against visitors feeding them when you are not looking. People who have been celebrating a little hard do not always think things through. It is okay to feed your pet some left-overs, but try to make sure you know exactly how much they are receiving. Beware of visitors slipping your dog cooked bones or other inappropriate foods. Corn cobs, skewers and cooked bones are all potentially lethal to your pet, and the last thing you want is to spend Christmas with us at the clinic. People who have been celebrating a little hard do not always think things through.
Buying a new puppy or kitten as a Christmas present can be risky too. Make sure they are well thought out before bringing them into your family. Ensure they have had their vaccinations and health checks. There is nothing worse than a sick new puppy at Christmas. As a general rule new pets are better bought after Christmas as there is less confusion and upheaval for the pet and less likelihood of making spur of the moment decisions which may be later regretted. Remember a pet is for life not just for Christmas.