Keep pets safe at Christmas time

ADVICE FOR PET PARENTS: Keep your furry friends safe and healthy this festive season by taking precautions with food, hot weather and road travel so you can have a paw-fect, stress-free Christmas. Picture: Shutterstock
ADVICE FOR PET PARENTS: Keep your furry friends safe and healthy this festive season by taking precautions with food, hot weather and road travel so you can have a paw-fect, stress-free Christmas. Picture: Shutterstock

Christmas is a time for family to come together, and that includes the four-legged members. Of course, the holiday season and hotter weather can bring some challenges for our furry friends. Here's some advice to keep your best friends stay safe and healthy through the holidays.

Food

Serving up a feast this Christmas? Just remember some foods which are delicious for us can be unsafe for our pets. Greencross Vets advises mince pies and Christmas cake, stuffing, gravy, chocolate, cooked bones, nutmeg, avocado and stonefruit are not safe for animals.

Pets who overindulge on Christmas goodies and fatty table scraps are also at risk of pancreatitis, a condition that causes pain and discomfort and can become life-threatening. If your pet eats something they shouldn't have, contact a local emergency vet as soon as possible, as a quick response can make all the difference.

Weather

As the weather heats up, it's also essential to take precautions to make sure your furry friends do not overheat. Symptoms of overheating may include excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness or even collapse.

To avoid this:

  1. Make sure your pets have plenty of fresh, clean water to drink.
  2. If you are going out for the day, leave a couple of bowls, just in case one gets knocked over.
  3. If your pet usually stays outside, make sure it has access to shade from all aspects as the sun moves through the day.

During a heatwave or extreme temperatures, it's better to keep your pet inside in a well-ventilated area.

Travel

If you're taking a trip this Christmas, you might choose to hire a pet sitter or book your pet into a boarding kennel or cattery.

Or, you might be one of the 19 per cent of dog owners and 2 per cent of cat owners the RSPCA reports take their companion on holidays with them.

Whether your pet is having a staycation in a kennel or vacation with you, take your pet for a check-up and ensure all vaccinations are up to date. When travelling, always carry extra bottles of water and treats to keep your pet hydrated, satisfied and distracted.

If you're travelling by road, dogs should be restrained using a dog seat belt or safety harness in the car's back seat, and cats should be secured in a cat carrier with a seatbelt around it.

Never leave your pet alone in the car. The RSPCA estimates a dog can die of heat-related causes in as little as six minutes on a hot day. Use Google Maps to locate dog-friendly parks and rest areas along the way.

This story Have a pawfect Christmas with your pets first appeared on The Canberra Times.