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Have yourself a merry pet stress-free Christmas

I absolutely love Christmas always have. Its not just the decorations its the festive atmosphere and I think if for some reason I woke up not knowing it was Christmas day I reckon I’d know it was just by the atmosphere.

Christmas is a very busy time for everyone and our pets can sense something has changed. So we’ve compiled our top five tips on helping your pet survive the christmas period...............

1. Christmas Tree and Decorations

We always start decorating the house slowly, normally a room at a time and let our animals get used to the change before adding more and the tree is always put up with them in the room - helps them understand and gives us a chance to let them know it is not to be touched and there is no surprise when they walk in the room and see it for the first time. Remember chocolate is poisonous so if you do want to hang chocolate decorations make sure they are high up and out of reach. The bottom of our tree is usually kept fairly bare keeping temptation at bay.

Tinsel and hanging baubles can be so tempting especially if you have a puppy or kitten but if swolled they can cause serious illness.

If you have a cat you might want to add a new scratching post as an alternative source of fun. Some plants and flowers including poinsettias, holly, ivy, mistletoe and lilies can be toxic, so avoid these if you have pets.

2. Christmas food

As tempting as it is to over indulge your pet make sure your aware of what your pet can eat. Chocolate, mince pies, Christmas pudding, onion gravy and alcohol are all poisonous for our pets and the bones from carcasses are a dangerous choking hazard.

Skinless and boneless meat is harmless in small quantities but its probably best avoided, why not get the family involved in making tasty homemade teats that are low in fat.

3. Visitors

Having a stream of visitors or a house full of guests can seem like heaven for some pets. Lots of new people to show them affection but for some pets it can be their worse nightmare. Make sure they have a safe place to retire to, and as you would on bonfire night, offer them a den type bed in a quiet part of the house. Allow your pets to greet your guests in their own time.

Keep to their usual toileting, feeding and exercise routine and make sure your guests are aware that safety is paramount and the front door should be opened with caution. Offering your guests treats to give to your pet might alleviate your pets discomfort but make sure you take it from your their allowance to avoid over feeding.

4. Leaving alone or taking them with you.

Obviously we all need to leave our pets alone at some time, but Christmas can mean that you have to leave them more often or for longer. Again, keeping to their feeding and toilet routine and making sure they are well exercised will help, leave your lights on and a radio playing and providing them with a puzzle toy is a great idea to alleviate boredom. Know your pet and don't leave them long enough for them to become stressed. If your lucky enough to be able to take your dog with you, you might want to take something of theirs with you. Something familiar like their blanket or bedding and include some toys to occupy them.

5. Christmas Morning

The big day has arrived and, if you have children, there is great excitement at pressie unwrapping time and amongst it all is an over excited pup running around jumping and slobbering everywhere. He means no harm just wants to join in with the fun. Why not provide him with his own loosely wrapped gift or large chew. Alternatively don’t be afraid to attach his lead and settle him down with that large chew, smoked bone or a puzzle toy. If presents have been wrapped with fancy bows and ribbons make sure they are discarded safely and well away from your pets reach.

May we take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas.


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