It’s easy to slip out of your normal routine at Christmas with endless parties, visitors and dozing in front of the telly, but if you’re one of the UK’s millions of dog owners, you’ll have no excuse for getting outside (and escaping the Christmas washing up!) and getting some fresh air and exercise for you and your dog. With the extra hustle and bustle with visitors, children, the noise of the television, music and computer games etc, your dog will thank you for a bit of peace and quiet and exercise!
Once Santa has been our homes often look like a toy store, so when possible try to ensure children’s’ toys are not left lying around if they have small parts that your pet could tear or chew off and choke on. Don’t forget about all the little toys you get in Christmas crackers! What’s more when it comes to children and your pet keep a close eye on your pet to make sure they don’t get over excited with all the Christmas fuss!
Christmas can be a busy time with visiting friends and relatives so make sure your pet doesn’t make an escape in the commotion, and ensure all the excitement of having visitors doesn’t distress your pet by simply keeping an eye on them or letting them relax in an unoccupied room.
The finishing touches to every home at Christmas often come in the form of plants and flowers; however, certain types of plants are highly toxic and can even cause death. Poinsettia, Holly, Mistletoe, Amaryllis, Lilies and Yew tree are poisonous to pets and must be kept well out of reach. Poinsettia can cause drooling, oral pain, and vomiting and Mistletoe causes vomiting, laboured breathing, shock, and even death from cardiovascular collapse if ingested. Seek immediate veterinary treatment if you think your pet may have ingested parts of any of these plants.
Don’t keep pets outdoors when Fireworks are going off and ensure that they have a safe, quiet place inside where they aren’t frightened by all of the noise and where they cannot escape through the constantly open door. A quiet, inner room where they can’t hear much of the noise from fireworks and loud bangs can help. Putting a radio or television on in the room can also be effective. Try and make sure that the pet isn’t left alone if its distressed.
Do make sure that rabbits and other caged animals are safely secured in a garage or outbuilding, away from the sight and sound of fireworks. As an alternative, the cage can be covered with thick fabric to muffle the sound, making sure there is sufficient ventilation. Horses should be securely stabled or moved to a different location during fireworks displays in the area.
Do ensure that pets always have effective identification. The DSPCA recommends that you have your pet microchipped and ensure that it is wearing a collar with identification in the event that it escapes from the house. Every year we get calls and visits from upset owners with lost pet information as their pets have run off after being scared by fireworks. The DSPCA will Microchip your pet for you or any vet practice can arrange this quickly and easily.
Don’t ignore animals in need. Report animal abuse and neglect immediately to An Gardai Siochana or contact the DSPCA at 01-499 4700