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Making Christmas an Event Furr the Whole Family By Ashley Kinach, RVT

Christmas is such a fun time of year! If you are anything like me, you want your pets’ to feel included in all the fun and festivities. The desire to include our furry friends can sometimes lead to accidents, illness and possible health emergencies if we don’t plan ahead and make smart choices.  Read up on our Christmas Hazards blog for more details on some of the hazards of the Christmas season.

What I want to tell you about is safe and healthy ways to include Fluffy and Fido in the festivities.

Will you be out of the home more than usual?

It will be important to keep in mind that pets thrive on routine. Make it a priority to ensure dogs get their usual walks and exercise; this can help decrease the chances that your pooch will get in to trouble- and possibly find some hazards to indulge in- while you are out of the house.

Although cats don’t require the outside exercise that dogs do, make time each day to spend time with and play with your cat.  Changes to cats’ routine can cause stress that can lead to house soiling or a decrease in appetite.

Having a gathering at your house?

Again, exercise will be the key to getting your dog to be on his/her best behaviour. A well exercised dog will be calmer and less likely to get wound up as guests arrive. As much as we love our dogs, not all guests appreciate their enthusiastic welcoming!

If you have a dog that can be protective of his possessions (like food or toys), make sure these items are somewhere that you dog can access them but will not feel threatened by strangers in their space.

Are cats likely to get excited by the presence of visitors to our homes? Unfortunately, quite the opposite is true. We get many calls from owners whose cats get very stressed over the holidays- these cats hide, go off their food, and are just not themselves.

Making sure your cat has a quiet area to rest and access their food and water along with making sure their access to the litter box is never restricted is a good place to start.

Do you have a stressed cat or dog?

If your pet has a history of being stressed by changes to routine, traveling or visitors in your home, the use of a pheromone product can greatly reduce the stress your pet experiences. Pheromone products safely reduce stress levels without the use of medications and are available in several different forms (sprays, diffusers, collars, ect) for both dogs and cats. If you think your pet could benefit from a pheromone product this holiday season, talk to us about what product would be best suited for you and your pet.

Christmas Treats!

It can be all too tempting to include our pets in our Christmas feast by giving turkey meat and bones or other food scraps and leftovers. Sudden changes to your pet’s diets, especially with fatty foods or bones can cause serious illness, and who wants to spend the holidays atthe emergency vet clinic?

Instead, why not offer some delicious and healthy homemade treats? The best part about the recipes I’ve included is that they use your pet’s food (either kibble or canned) to make cookies, so there isn’t a risk of tummy upset or illness brought on by a sudden food change!

https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/how-make-healthy-dog-treats-mature-adult.html

https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/how-make-healthy-treats-home-ktn.html

Emergencies

Despite our best efforts to keep our pets happy, safe and healthy, emergencies can arise.

The team at Baxter Animal Hospital makes our best effort to balance our time between our families and our patients; if your pet needs veterinary care over the Christmas holidays and we are unavailable, rest assured there is always a veterinarian available to help you. For emergency services call 705-671-3949.

Merry Christmas!

 

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