The end of 2019 is just around the corner and soon it will be time for a celebration. A time for families to come together and have some quality time together. Families plan a lot of activities for the holiday season and its certainly a busy time. During this busy time, we think about everyone one the family and all of their needs. This list of family members includes furry friends as well. As responsible pet owners and pet families, our list is slightly different than the non-pet families.
We as your vet team just wanted to be a part of your planning process over this holiday season so that we make sure all of your plans go smoothly. For our pets, the Christmas and New Year’s lights and sounds can cause anxiety and other problems.
Here’s how to ensure your pet gets through the festive celebrations safely.
Travelling is a big plan, a big change in routine and a big change is everything in a limited amount of time. We all know how frustrating and exhausting travelling can be for us. It happens with the pets too. Some of your pets can experience a certain level of stress and travel anxiety, so it is important to get a plan together when travelling with our pets. If travelling with pets, a pet carrier might help them to feel more relaxed. If you are carrying a pet carrier, make sure your pet is used to that carrier or if you are buying a new one, make sure your pet gets used to it before the travel so that it helps them feel comfortable and secure during the journey. If you aren’t using a carrier and you are driving, make sure your pet is safely and securely restrained with a car safety harness. This is important for their safety as well as yours and is a legal requirement. Some pets struggle with travel sickness, so you should have a feeding plan ready and get some advice from your vet. You can also find a variety of safe and effective anti-nausea travel medications from your vets to comfort your pet and have a smooth journey with them. Remember the ‘STOP, REVIVE SURVIVE’ rule. Stop every couple of hours, allow them to stretch their legs, ensure they wee and poo and ensure they have some water to be kept well hydrated especially considering the warmer season. Keep your cat in the carrier all the time, place a puppy pad if you think it is the need and also keep a towel around them to keep them cool. The vet can plan your journey with your pet with you for a smooth and hassle-free trip.
2. Heat exhaustion
Our summers are hot and humid and pets are more prone to heat stress during this period. Make sure that your pet has lots of water easily accessible in and around the house, especially when it’s really hot. Ensure they are indoors, during the hottest part of the day especially if your yard is not well shaded. Another good way to beat the heat is by using ice cubes in the water bowl to keep it cool and also a frozen treat. Do not leave pets in cars unattended or leave them tied up outdoors in the scorching sun. Some signs of heat stress to look for: uncontrolled panting, bright red gums and tongue, and your pet collapsing. If you notice any of these signs, place your pet under cool running water, and urgently visit your vet for the best advice and a treatment plan.
3. Seasonal parasites
During the summer, ticks and fleas are at their worst behaviour and always wanting to feast on your pet’s blood. Although Wagga does not have the deadly paralysis tick, brown dog ticks are very common in bushland where kangaroos are in residence. If you are planning a trip to the Coast, your pet is at risk of acquiring paralysis ticks. Tick prevention is vital especially on camping trips and trips to the Coast.
Fleas are highly active in the spring and summer season and can cause irritation, itching and allergic dermatitis. Fleas may also have a nibble on any humans they come in contact with too. Contact your vet to get the best anti-flea product for your pet’s and your family’s safety.
4. The beach
Some pets enjoy the beach just as much as we do, it is necessary to remember that salt water can cause trouble for some pets. Drinking too much seawater can result in them vomiting or seriously unwell. Keep a cap on the Salt Water time and remember to take freshwater and water bowls with you for your pet. Just like for some of us, they may also get skin irritation because of saltwater. Be sure to give them a nice wash with under fresh water and a nice bath when getting back home.
Keep an eye on your pet to ensure they don’t eat any pufferfish, jellyfish or other sea creatures. Take care as a fisherman may leave bait or hooks buried in the sand. It is also important to check the sand temperature as it can get too hot given the season. Be mindful of your pet’s age as they might get overworked and their joint may hurt more if they are on a senior side. You would know if your pet is a good swimmer or not. Keep a close eye on them to ensure they are safe and are enjoying the adventure.
5. Rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals and dietary requirements
Small pets are not used to the extreme sounds and lights of celebration nights. It is thus necessary to apply as many of the tips above to keep your small companion animal safe and comfortable. Also, make sure your pet is having their bowl of water full and a little bit of food in their safe area if need be. Also, make sure you give them treats the next day for being a brave pet. Check with your vet what would be okay to treat your pet with as a Christmas present.
6. Christmas Decoration and wrapping material
Although the décor makes the tree and house look at its best and most festive, it can cause severe problems for your pets. Shiny décor attracts your pet’s attention and interest and they will often end up accidentally ingesting them or getting tangled. This can be extremely serious and require vet treatment and even surgery. Keep a safe distance in mind and use a fence to avoid access to the tree. Don’t let anything handing be in reach of your kids and pets and also make sure to have a safe electrical supply.
7. Fences, gates and windows.
Check all the escape routes that your pet may have access to. Secure all the fences, gates and windows. Pets are very curious. Especially during this time of the year when we have different fragrances, aromas and smells around, along with the different lights and sounds and vibrations, it is a plausible case that your pet may want to explore it. For your peace of mind and your pet’s safety, you must make the necessary adjustments on the fences, gates and windows.
8. Be careful with pets around guests
While pets enjoy your company and being pampered and also like to be the centre of attraction, it is better to keep an eye on your pet’s behaviour when you have guests around. Especially if your pet is a rescue pet. As you wouldn’t ever fully know, what all they must have all gone through in their past. Although kids are innocent, your pet may have a different experience with kids. Better safe than sorry for everyone in the house. Your pet will communicate how they feel about the guests and changes in their vicinity – they may hide or stay away from the party or even one particular person. Make sure you allow them to feel safe and loved in all the busy days and the changes. Make sure they feel protected by allowing them to escape for the party and also by giving them a set amount of time so that they feel your love and warmth. It is also very important to let your guests know that they shouldn’t feed your pet from the table or shouldn’t force themselves to play with your pet. Special care should be taken with the kids as kids like to feed your pets with some chocolate and candies. Remember some human food is extremely dangerous for your pets. Better safe than sorry.
9. Tucker them out
Another easy and convenient way to help your pet from getting anxious towards the strange lights and sounds is to ensure they’re well exercised and well-fed. Take your dog for a reasonably long walk in the afternoon and feed them properly at their set time. Do not make multiple changes into their routine as this would also stress them. Play with your cat for a longer time. Cat toys are a great help. A tired and well-fed dog\cat may be less likely to get anxious when they hear loud noises or see strange lights.
10. Keep pets indoors and keep a safe place set for them.
It is recommended that cats and dogs be kept indoors during fireworks displays and the noise. A comfortable, familiar space in the home, a cardboard box with a towel or blanket for your cat and a bed set with a blanket for your doggo will help make them feel secure and safe at home.
11. Set a Date with your vet in advance
Your vet knows your pet well and will always give you the best advice when planning your adventures and holidays. They will help you with a quick guide on food and medication, vaccination requirements, worming requirements, flea and tick medication and also grooming requirements. If you have not got your pet’s details updated on their microchip, now is the time to get it done to avoid any inconvenience and keep them protected all the time. In case your pet is not microchipped, it is important to make an appointment ASAP and get it done for your peace of mind. You may have questions about how to calm your pet and may want something to settle them if they suffer from anxiety. The options may include an Adaptil collar or a Thunder shirt. Chat to our team to get the best advice for your pet. You may also like to have a GPS tracker to your doggo’s collar so it’s easy to locate them if they go wandering. Our local Telstra store will get you sorted with the GPS tracker.
We hope these few tips will keep everyone safe and cheerful during their holidays. Whatever you have planned for the festive season, be sure you contact the nearest vet for any emergencies. You and your pets are sure to have a safe and happy festive season with proper planning. We look forward to seeing you again in 2020!!