Christmas with our Pets

Date: 15 Dec 2019

Christmas time is a busy and hectic time for most of us. Households become increasingly busy with family coming and going. It's hard enough for us to cope with visitors and keep our Christmas cheer.... we shouldn't forget that our pets have to deal with these changes too. On top of that, as we all know too well; the gym's across the country are crammed with people during January; all trying to work off those extra pounds. Temptation is all around! It's not a nice thought, but some of the food we love may even be harmful for your pets. Oscars Hepline experts are here to offer some handy tips to keep your pets happy during the Christmas period.

Diet

Watch what your pet eats over the Christmas period. Friends and family may not realise, which foods can be dangerous to cats and dogs and mistakenly feed them to your pet. There are a number of festive food that are dangerous to our pets, Oscars Nutritionist Dr David Frape advises pets owners to avoid the following foods: Top Ten Festive Food Fears

1: Turkey Bones - The bones can split inside and injure your pets. Bones often splinter and can get lodged in the throat too.

2: Mince Pies - Just like us, our pets can gain weight from unhealthy foods. Fatty foods can cause Pancreatitis

3: Nuts - Can be extremely toxic to pets. As few as six macadamia kernels can lead to weakness or paralysis

4: Stuffing - The onions in stuffing can be toxic. The chemical Thiosulphate can weaken red blood cells, causing them to literally fall apart over time

5: Sausages in Bacon - Salty foods cause dogs to drink too much water, which can develop into a life-threatening condition called bloat

6: Clementines - Clementine pips and other pip-based fruit contain Cyanide, which is poisonous

7: Chocolate - Extremely poisonous and causes heart arrhythmia

8: Cheeseboard - Dairy products are high in fat, which can cause Pancreatitis, gas and Diarrhoea

9: Alcohol - Dogs are more susceptible to the poisonous effects of alcohol and it can lead to death

10: Crisps - Can lead to high blood pressure.

Now we've depressed you, lets looks at the things that your pets CAN enjoy this Christmas! Buying your dog or cat a special treat over the festive period, is a great way to be able to involve your pet. Ask friends and family to use your pet's festive treat as reward rather then feeding human food and chocolate. This will keep your pet safe and healthy.

At Oscars we understand how important it is to check the ingredients of treats to make sure there are no unnecessary artificial colours or additives, which could contribute to a negative change in your dog's behaviour. Speak to your Oscar Nutritional Adviser, when considering feeding Christmas treats. Treats should be introduced into your dogs daily feeding allowance as over feeding treats could contribute to weight gain and a break down in toilet training.

Keeping your pets happy

Christmas can be an anxious time for dogs and cats as the household environment becomes more lively and varied with all the comings & goings of friends and family. Rewarding your dog with a treat or chew is a great way to involve your pet and to make them feel part of the 'family pack' at Christmas time.  It is also a good way to keep your dog busy during busy if things get hectic.  Feeding treats can be a useful way to help your dog to be well behaved and feel comfortable over the festive period.  Dogs can become excitable when visitors arrive, it is a good idea to allow your visitors to hand feed your dog a tasty treat, in reward for them being calm and not jumping up.  Your dog will soon learn that if it behaves in a calm manner when visitors arrive, it will receive a tasty treat for good behaviour! For dogs who are elderly, nervous or poorly, Christmas can be a stressful time as their routine is interrupted. Hand feeding treats, when your dog is calm and relaxed, will help them to feel more comfortable.

Provide a den for dog or cat to escape to, if they feel stressed of anxious when the household is busy over Christmas.  Your pet's favourite place to escape to maybe under the table, behind the sofa or under your bed.  By putting your pet's bedding in this area and allowing them to retreat here, will help them to feel secure and safe.  If your pets retreats to their den, friends and family should be asked to leave your pet alone.  Speak to your Oscar Nutritional Advisor about a product called Calm by NAF (Natural Animal Feeds). This is a herbal calming solution, designed to help highly strung dogs with stressful situations.

Christmas trees and decorations can be just as exciting to dogs and cat !  Make sure tinsel, baubles, wrapping paper, holly and all things festive are kept out of your pets reach. Some pets may be scared of the unusual festive items in there home environment and may take a few days to adjust to them.  Consider where you place your Christmas tree and decorations, don't place them near to your pets sleeping or feeding area.  For the more adventurous dog and cat, fencing may need to be placed around the tree to stop them from raiding present or climbing the tree.

If your dog or cat is nervous of fireworks, keep your pets safe by keeping them indoors.  Introducing a den will help them to feel safe and secure.  Never leave your pet home alone if they have problem with fireworks.  For further advice on pets and fireworks please contact Oscars Helpline.

For further advice please contact Oscar Helpline on *0800 195 8000 or email helpline@oscars.co.uk.

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