Christmas … a time for celebrating

Mulled wine and Gingerbread Trees
October 31, 2020
Blue Cross – Animal Charity
October 31, 2020

Christmas … a time for celebrating

By Crossroads Vets

 

Christmas is coming and after a difficult pandemic year, many of us feel it is an ideal opportunity to celebrate with each other as much as we can. Our precious pets are part of the family and while some enjoy the additional activity many others find Christmas a stressful time.

 

What can increase stress for pets at Christmas?

 

Decorations – Pretty for us to look at but can be frightening to pets. Pets might also be fascinated with the decorations and accidentally ingest them causing serious damage.

Visitors – Coming and going can be disruptive to your pet’s usual routine. Nervous pets may be overwhelmed by lots of different people in the home and increased noise levels.

Excitable children – They love Christmas, but all the excitement increases the level of noise in the home, triggering stress. Children may want to play with the pet, but it might not be used to children and get nervous.

Owners going away – Either going on holiday or just out for the day, leaving the pet alone longer than normal increases anxiety. Pets may also have to go into kennels/cattery or be left with a ‘stranger’ looking after them in the home.

Fireworks – These loud sudden explosions and flashes in the sky cause intense anxiety for animals, causing them to shake uncontrollably, hide or flee.

 

How do I know if my pet is stressed?

 

Panting, lip licking, over grooming, hiding away, trembling, shaking, shivering, toileting within the house, or destructive behaviour

 

What ways can I minimise Christmas stress?

 

  • If your pet is easily overwhelmed try to introduce things gradually, avoid putting up decorations in one day and suddenly changing their environment.
  • Supervise children with pets at all times.
  • Allow your pet a quiet/clutter free area to hide away and escape to if they need it.
  • Continue normal regimes as much as possible, e.g. feeding and exercise times.
  • Consider use of pheromone diffusers in the run up to Christmas. Ask your vet about the use of calming supplements. These are most effective when started weeks before the event, so allow plenty of time.
  • If someone is looking after your pet in your home whilst you are away, ensure they know your pet’s normal routine and try to introduce them to your pet a few times in advance.
  • Be wary of crackers/party poppers, etc. when pets are near.
  • If your pet has firework phobia, do not over fuss them whilst fireworks are going off, this will reinforce the behaviour. Act normally and try to distract them with toys, radio/TV noise or play.

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