13 Dec Anxiety-free festivities for your pets
Have you thought about your furry friend this festive period? Christmas can easily cause anxiety and stress for pets.
As Christmas draws closer, it’s easy for us all to get carried away with celebrations, bright lights, decorations, music, carols and so much more. Let’s face it, Christmas can be amazing, but it can be pretty full-on too!
At least that’s exactly what our pets can feel like. The change in routine, new visitors, colder weather and general festive fun can often be too much and cause stress for our cats, dogs and rabbits.
Here are some things to be mindful of this Christmas and New Year.
What can I do to help my pet with Christmas stress and anxiety?
Create safe spaces.
It’s easy to think that your pets will enjoy lots of fuss and attention from an array of guests and visitors. And although this might be the case for some dogs and cats, others might find it too much.
For dogs, try and avoid shutting your dog away as this could heighten their anxiety. But ensure that there is a space available for them to retreat to for some peace if necessary.
Baby gates are amazing for creating somewhere for your pets to enjoy their food, favourite blanket or toy. This reassures them with familiar comforts, despite any extra noise or Christmas chaos.
Cats are typically more independent than dogs. If they feel overwhelmed they will tend to take it upon themselves to find some peace and quiet. However, it doesn’t hurt to make sure that separate rooms are accessible and any food/litter trays are put in a place of easy access too.
Don’t forget about your outdoor rabbit hutches! These might require extra bedding materials to create more warmth and security during winter. As well as this keep an eye out that their drinking water hasn’t frozen over.
Let them choose to meet and greet.
For all pets, it can be a good idea to get your guests to give them space and let your pets meet them at their own pace.
Visitors to your home may be excited to greet your furry friend, but it can be a good idea, especially with children to advise keeping some distance while your cat or dog has a chance to get used to new faces, sounds and scents.
Maintain regular routine.
Make sure, where possible, your pet’s routine is kept as similar as normal. It can be hard to manage this when you’re going elsewhere for Christmas festivities, however, your pet must be still walked regularly and fed at roughly the same time as normal.
Be mindful about how long you’re leaving your pet for over Christmas, just like any other time of the year, as this can cause them further distress and lead to disruptive behaviours.
Give lots of usual cuddles, walk at the usual times and avoid too many extra Christmas treats!
Use calming aids.
There are lots of products on the market that are designed to help keep your pets calm during stressful times. These are a great way to assist your other efforts and can be managed pretty easily. For example, calming plugins can be used at a wall socket to produce positive pheromones. Recognising and understanding anxiety in your pets can be difficult. Here are the signs to look out for when dogs experience anxiety at Christmas.
Be cautious of dangers to your pet.
Anxiety can be very tricky to spot and hard to manage, so avoidance is better than cure in this case. But as with all Christmas festivities, there are also lots of dangers and risks of harm to your pet.
Try to keep a good eye on them and what’s in their surroundings. Decorations, lights and small toys can all be choking hazards. Foods and treats that we find yummy can be harmful to our pets too, so ensure if you are giving your four-pawed friend some tasty veg or meat, that it is safe to do so.
Make sure you’ve got the FirstVet app downloaded if you’re a 4Paws Pet Insurance policyholder, as this enables you to free access to video chats with veterinary professionals. They can advise accordingly if your pet has had a mishap this festive period.
Implications associated with these risks can be costly to manage. Don’t break the bank this Christmas, make sure you’re ready and prepared – with plans, presents and of course, pet insurance that meets your needs!
Have a wonderful festive season!