Pet Advice Dog and Child

Published on December 20th, 2013 | by Debbie Martin


Christmas Nightmares – For Pets

The sleigh bells are almost audibly jingling and while a sleigh ride together may be beckoning you, take a moment to think about those poor old reindeer and other domesticated animals. Not even considering the Turkey, Christmas can be a very stressful time indeed for a whole host of not-so-merry pets. Strange, interesting and potentially toxic new foods abound in the house, well established territories are invaded by noisy, smaller versions of their human companions and louder, raucous bigger ones can also appear unbidden at the door. There are compensations; new toys in the form of trees heavily decorated with dangling stuff are introduced. Packages which look distinctly like the toys that the postman kindly delivers are littered around the house. From a pets point of view Christmas can be a mixed blessing, with new and exciting experiences and a fair few unsettling and terrifying ones to boot. Here’s how to take some of the trauma out of the festive season, at least for the pets.

Space Invaders

When toddlers attack, cats and dogs can respond in kind; it doesn’t matter how many times you say ‘no don’t be quite so, oh, too late’ to a child, they like to learn from experience. Some adults still need to experience the bite/scratch from your pet to, before they realise it doesn’t matter how good they are with animals, this particular pooch or puss isn’t reciprocating. Creating a safe place for your pets is the most viable solution; for dogs a den behind a chair or sofa in a quieter room is ideal. Furnished with treats, this space becomes a welcome haven. Just try to make it toddler proof (well, try) and keep an eye on space invaders of the crawling variety trying to join the dog; this could potentially turn into a very nasty situation. Cats, as superior beings, prefer a high place to survey the sorry state of the human specimens surrounding them. A bed placed on top of shelves, a chest of drawers or cabinet (yes, remove delicate china and precious objects first) makes the ideal observation point where they can feel safe, secure and, best of all, aloof.

Baubles; Almost as Much Fun as a Sparrow

If it shines, hangs from the branch of a tree and can be made to move it’s almost as good as a tethered sparrow. Cats, in particular, view trees as if Christmas has come early, although dogs are not entirely immune to the charms of this strange new object in the room. The basic rule is that animals should not be left unsupervised with trees; apart from the devastation that they can cause, pets can injure themselves severely if they get overly enthusiastic. If the animals are joining you in the room, apart from keeping them under supervision, arrange a little play time (with their own toys) to re-focus their attention away from the tree. Once presents have been opened and the devastation of paper and string litters the room remove it quickly to avoid further mishaps (including choking).

Carefully Planned Thefts

With the feast out of the way most of us like a bit of a snooze; most pets will have been waiting for this moment and probably have created at least a mental map of the easiest way to access the left over treats (possibly how to remove the turkey to a convenient location for disposal) during the early part of the day. Apart from piling on the pooch-pounds, or ruining that elegant feline waistline, human food can be dangerous or even deadly. Some foods are poisonous to our pets, while Turkey bones can cause choking in both cats and dogs. Remove leftovers and secure them, with locks if necessary, away from cats, dogs and any dodgy looking elderly relatives who are prone to treating animals with inappropriate tit-bits.

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About the Author

Debbie Martin has worked at Beeston Animal Health for over five years, having previously worked as a nurse in equine and small animal practice. Although generally involved with aspects of marketing these days and putting her psychology degree to good use, she still has a great depth of up to date knowledge in all creatures great and small. Debbie lives at home with her partner and two children and spends much of her spare time looking after her horses, dogs and cats or at the home farm with the cows, sheep and turkeys.

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