With Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, isn’t it time you started prepping for the Holidays with your pets? You don’t want them feeling left out now, do you? From diet to dropping temperatures, there’s a lot of considerations to make for your furry family members. After all, you can never be too prepared when your pets are concerned!
There’s always a tremendous amount food available during the Holidays. From sweets to leftover ham, there’s plenty of tempting morsels for both you and your animals. Many pet owners (and their family members) want to include pets and give them tidbits from the table – and more besides. I would caution against this, since the high fat and salt content isn’t good for pets. Chocolate and candy, as we all know, can be very dangerous. But overfeeding is a big problem too and can lead to obesity (and other health complications) if you’re not careful. Most of my clients are very strict with what they feed their pets – but you should be extra vigilant with what guests are feeding them too.
To make sure your pets don’t miss out, you can always head to the local pet store and pick up any number of healthy Holiday treats for your fur babies.
2. Cold Weather
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in one of the warmer Southern States, or in Hawaii, it’s likely to be a little chilly (probably a LOT chilly) for you at this time of year. Pets in general have a higher body temperature than people with Dogs and Cats at about 102° F. Though most healthy dogs are very well adapted to cold temperatures – provided they’re not outdoors for too long – care must be taken with puppies, older dogs, and of course any sick or injured pets who can be vulnerable.
Cats are generally wise to the winter and those that do venture out of the house won’t spend any longer than necessary. Felines are usually more than happy to linger indoors, close to a source of heat and so are less of a worry!
Traveling with pets is always a tricky subject with a lot of misinformation. The most important measure to take is tagging your pet’s collar with up-to-date contact information (should they inadvertently make an escape) and microchipping. Also, be sure to book at a pet-friendly destination as you don’t want to be caught short. Besides, many hotels provide pet-friendly options, depending on the size and breed of the animal.
Some people promote sedating pets for travel but this can occasionally lead to problems and in rare cases, even death. To help prevent any travel-related anxiety, I find the best policy is placing pets on a fast (to prevent any sickness during shorter journeys) and prepping their secure cage or crate with simple products like Feliway (for Felines) and Adaptil (for canines) which helps them relax during the journey.
4. Christmas Decorations
Between your Christmas tree and all the ornaments, there are lots of potential hazards for your pets to encounter during the Holidays – especially your feline friends. Cats just love to play with anything shiny that happens to be dangling down!
Be wary of tinsel because some cats will attempt to eat it – which may require a costly surgery to remove it. Cat owners are best to steer clear of tinsel. The usual precautions of securing the tree and using non-breakable decorations apply. If you have more costly ornaments, it’s best to put them high up, out of kitty’s reach and away from doggy’s wagging tail.
5. New Year Celebrations
New Year’s Eve Celebrations can get pretty rowdy, what with the music and fireworks, causing a great deal of anxiety for some pets. To help keep stress levels down, it’s important to maintain your pet’s routine (feeding, play time and training as usual) during these times, especially if you know you’ll be out of the house for long periods.
There are a few other measures you can take during the NYE celebrations. Be sure to draw blinds or curtains, create a comfortable environment (bedding, toys and litter trays in a safe area – away from foot traffic if you have guests), and try to mask any outside noise by turning up the tv and/or radio volume.
How can Activ4Pets help?
Hopefully you have a smooth festive period, with little or no cause for concern. If for whatever reason your pet requires medical attention, it’s always a good idea to have their veterinary history to hand. Activ4Pets provides a fast track option for accessing this information and pet health records travel with you on your smart phone.
If there’s a minor health concern (perhaps a small amount of candy gets ingested) but you don’t necessarily class it as an emergency, you can conduct a quick audio/visual web chat with your veterinarian to voice problems and ask any questions. Sometimes all you need is a little peace of mind and an e-Consult with your veterinarian provides exactly that. Worst case scenario – they ask you to come to the practice in person, just to be on the safe side.
Feel like capturing a moment? The Holidays are filled with photo opportunities with your pets. Activ4Pets provides unlimited storage for all your pet-related pics – so no need to use up space on your phone!
Happy Holidays from everyone at Activ4Pets. We hope you have a happy, healthy Holiday period with your pets.
Meet the Author
Dr. Clayton Jones
Dr. Jones has 25 years of veterinary medical experience as a staff veterinarian and medical director of his own practice. As well as being the Chief Veterinary Medical Officer for Activ4Pets, Dr. Jones is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Society and President of the US-Cuba Veterinary Cooperation Society.