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St Anne's Veterinary Group Blog

» How to keep your pets stress free this Christmas

Christmas brings various emotions for us humans, me for example – I’m Christmas mad. Many people find Christmas a stressful or sad time of year. Lots of people will be getting together with their family to celebrate and this is where the animals can get stressed.

Dogs and predominately cats are very fond of their routine and over the festive period routines are often out the window. How can you help your pets enjoy this Christmas as much as possible?

Try to keep food, walks and bed times the same where possible. Allow a space for cats to be away from strangers such as a cardboard box or igloo bed in a secluded spot where they know they will be safe. Ask guests to not stroke the cat if it is in its bed (where he/she feels safe), but only when the cat initiates contact. If dogs are coming, make sure there are baby gates or a secure room where the cat can be safe without the presence of a dog. Some dogs are also not fond of strangers coming into their home, allow them to greet people at their own pace and provide a quite area away from children or any source of stress.

If giving your pet a new bed, place a piece of bedding (eg a blanket) in the bed to make it smell more of home.

There are plug-ins and sprays such as Feliway and Adaptil which may help calm a nervous cat or dog if you know they are going to be stressed.

Make sure everyone visiting knows about the common Christmas toxicities such as mince pies, Christmas cake, lilies, stuffing (anything containing onion/garlic/leeks/chives), turkey bones (or any cooked bones that may splinter), chocolate, alcohol and macadamia nuts. This way we can all enjoy a safe Christmas without a rushed trip to the vets. Don’t worry about poinsettias, they usually only cause mild gastric signs and oral discomfort which usually don’t require a vets assistance. The little silica gel packets which state ‘DO NOT EAT’ on them are actually perfectly safe and are non-toxic.

We at St. Anne’s Veterinary Group would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!


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