Pet Professional Guild Australia (PPGA) has released a guide for keeping pets safe and happy over the Christmas period.

While Christmas is often a time for celebration and coming together for humans, pets can also suffer from increased stress due to changes in environment and visitors coming and going.

Below are PPGA’s top tips for helping pets have a stress-free happy Christmas:

Create safe spaces

Think about areas where your pets can go to escape, feel safe and rest. For dogs, this may be behind baby gates, puppy pens, crates or within a room. For cats, provide areas where they can get up high and hide if needed and make sure they have multiple escape options. Think about an outside enclosure for some outside chill out time.

Keeping them safe around visitors

Your pets may be used to your family, but additional new people, young children, noises and situations can be scary to your pet. In fear, they may feel trapped and this can lead to bites. Delta Dog Safe has great information for parents at Remember all interactions between children and dogs need to be supervised and it needs to be active supervision.

Keeping them Mentally Happy

Often their routine will change over the holidays. It is important to make sure they get plenty of physical and mental exercise during this time. Set up an enrichment schedule and prepare ahead of time – think about stuffing Kongs full of their wet meals, setting up lickimats with tasty cool treats like Greek yoghurt and banana and freezing them, iceblocks with treats inside, treat dispenser puzzles, sniffing activities and fun training exercises.

Keep dangerous foods out of reach and prepare plenty of healthy options for our dogs instead. Foods and drinks that can be toxic to dogs include; chocolate, dried fruit, onions, alcohol, xylitol flavored products (e.g. candy) and cooked bones. Also avoid fatty foods and lactose based products which can cause tummy upsets and in some cases pancreatitis.

Christmas Decorations

Many of the decorations such as tinsel can become obstructions if ingested. Christmas trees can be tempting for dogs but especially so for cats as they represent a climbing frame. However, they can be unstable and fall, causing injuries.

Be Prepared

Have your vets and after hour vet’s details in your phone and on the fridge. If away from home, find out who the nearest vet is and take a pet first aid kit as well. Even consider taking a first aid course for pets to help you apply critical first aid care. Make sure you have plenty of their normal medication and food in stock. Also prepare for any emergency evacuations by having their travel crates, harnesses, bowls etc ready to go.

Make sure their microchip details are up to date and they have their collars and tags on. Take an up-to-date photo and keep on your phone in case they go missing.

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