How to keep your pets happy and safe over the Festive Season

The holidays are “the season to be jolly” and celebrate with your loved ones, but it can also be a stressful and potentially dangerous time for your pets. How do we make sure our furry friends are staying safe? Whether you have a dog, cat or other pet, these simple tips will ensure everyone has a joyful and healthy holiday season.

Find pet friendly holiday spots

The most fun option is of course to take your pets on holiday with you. There are many pet friendly holiday spots nowadays and even if you stay at home, you can try out pet friendly beaches, parks, restaurants or picnic spots in your area and treat your pet. How about one of these pet friendly accommodation establishments in the Western Cape?

Find a good pet sitter or kennel if you can’t keep them with you

Another solution is to find a good kennel to take care of your pet while you are away. The best kennels are often booked up months in advance, especially during this time, so it’s a good idea to start planning early.

Some questions to consider checking with the kennel before booking a stay for your pet:
• Do they have a licence?
• Are the staff experienced and caring?
• Is the accommodation safe, secure and in good condition?
• Do they insist that pets are vaccinated?
• Do they have a vet on call for any health emergencies?
• Can they handle extra requirements, for example special dietary needs, grooming or your pets staying together?

You could also get a pet sitter to come to your home and take care of your animals for you. This can be more pleasant for the pet as they get to stay in their familiar environment. Make sure it is a reliable person with good references and knowledge of pets. It may also be a practical solution if you would like someone to housesit for you in any case. Check before the time whether they are willing to provide the care you need e.g. walking the dog, sleeping over at night or just popping into feed the animals etc.

Keep them cool and hydrated in the summer heat

Celebrating Christmas in the southern hemisphere means that we get to enjoy a lovely sunny festive season. But too much hot weather can be dangerous for your pets.

Many animals, especially dogs, are prone to heatstroke. Make sure your dogs stay indoors or in a shady area during the hottest times of the day, and make sure they have plenty of water. Heatstroke can also occur when animals are left alone in hot cars, where the temperature inside the vehicle can become much hotter than outside. Never leave your pet in a car unattended. If you suspect that your dog or cat is becoming dehydrated, immediately move them into a cool, shady spot, give them with water and wrap them in a damp towel, to help their body to cool down.

Keep them away from harmful human food

It’s tempting to share a tasty holiday feast with your furry friend, but please don’t give your pets anything harmful. Christmas foods are often full of ingredients that are dangerous for pets, such as raisins, alcohol and chocolate. Make sure your furry friends can’t get hold of any sweets, especially chocolate as that is toxic to dogs and cats. Many other sweet contain Xylitol, which should also be avoided. Even though your pet might sometimes chew on a bone from the pet shop, do not give them cooked turkey bones, chicken bones or any others. They can splinter in their digestive tract and cause serious problems.

Other dangerous foods are coffee, grapes and raisins, nuts, onions and avocados. Also check that your bin is closed and that your pet can’t accidentally dig through it and eat something they aren’t supposed to.

Keep them away from dangerous décor and noisy fireworks

Some decorations can be dangerous for our pets, for example tinsel, which can lead to intestinal obstructions, and even require surgery, if ingested. Also check that your tree is stable and can’t fall over and harm your pet. If you have a real tree, stop pets from drinking out of the tree’s water base because the water can contain harmful pesticides and chemicals. Pine needles can also be dangerous if swallowed. Also make sure your pet can’t chew on other ornaments or electrical wires.

Some pets are scared of loud noises which can be difficult on New Years Eve. Even though many areas prohibit the use of fireworks, you still find people setting them off, even in residential neighbourhoods. So to be safe make sure your pet is in a secure space and keep him calm.

With some planning it’s simple enough to keep your beloved pets safe and have them enjoy the festive season while staying healthy and happy.