Christmas time is holiday time and we look forward to a jolly good time. It is not always that way for our pets. Too many strange twinkly things that they are not allowed to play with, and too many people crowding in and running out. Nobody really taking time to talk to the pets, sometimes to even notice whether they are still there or not. . . .
If you live in Australia you also have the searing heat which can have tragic consequences for pets and wildlife. Animals Australia has put out a few tips to help avoid tragic events. I have chosen a few points for you to go over, and hopefully bring to mind a few important points.
1. Be water wise
Always ensure your four-legged (or feathered, or scaly!) friends have fresh clean water every day and lots of it! More than one dog has been known to simply upend the water dish in an attempt to cool down too, so you may also need to top it up regularly (or make it easy on yourself and buy a shell pool!).
Leave water out for thirsty wildlife. While some pets have the luxury of air conditioning, our wild natives often just swelter. Keep it in the shade - and high up if possible, to keep wildlife safe from predators. You'll probably make a whole heap of new animal friends with a makeshift billabong too!
Remember to put the cover on the pool when you're not using it. Hot animals trying to beat the heat can drown in pools so taking away that access can save lives (of course you'll have the water dish out anyway, right?)
Keep an eye out for heat-stressed wildlife - and if you spot any critters who look like they're struggling, call your local wildlife group for help.
4. Pets are not presents
Never ever buy an animal as a gift for someone, no matter how big the puppy dog eyes are. People should only get animals for themselves when they are sure they are ready for the commitment of having a companion animal.
When you decide the time is right to bring a four-legged family member home, please always consider adopting first — there are so many wonderful dogs waiting for new homes at rescue shelters across the country. If you have your heart set on a particular breed then look for a breed-specific rescue group or if you intend to purchase a dog directly from a breeder then make sure you do your research. Never buy dogs online or from pet shops.
5. Secure the perimeter
Before the festivities start, ensure that your yard/house is safe and secure. Many pets can be spooked by loud noises including storms and especially fireworks. An escape proof property means there's no chance of Fido bolting over a fence or through a window and becoming lost or running into traffic.
8. Ration the leftovers wisely
We've all seen the longing eyes of our beloved dogs and cats trying to levitate the food off the table, especially at holiday time. But certain tasty foods are potentially dangerous to dogs or cats and can cause significant damage or even death.
While this list is certainly not definitive, some common foods on the Christmas table to avoid feeding your pets include: chocolate, sugary candy (especially if it contains the sweetener Xylitol), grapes (raisins and sultanas) and nuts (both of which will probably be in your Chrissy pudding), garlic or onion (do you put these in your gravy or stuffing?), yeast (in bread), mushrooms, tomato leaves or stems (often in the salad!), anything with caffeine and cooked chicken or turkey bones. Click here for a more extensive list of toxic foods.
You should also never give your pets paracetamol, as this can kill the animal not the pain , (besides you may need it yourself for the Boxing Day recovery)! If you suspect your animal may have eaten something that could be harmful, take them to the vet immediately.
9. Take them with you!
Try to find pet friendly accommodation if you are planning a trip away. Dr Katrina Warren has a few tried and true pet-friendly holiday spotslisted on her website, as well as some very important tips for travelling with pets. If you really can't take your best friend with you, make sure you check out and inspect the best kennels available in your area and book well in advance (they fill up very fast for Christmas time!)
10. Be prepared for wild activity on the road
Keep an emergency kit in the car for any unforseen mishaps on the road. As well as food and water for your own animals, make sure you bring extra, along with a blanket and a box in case you come across injured or exhausted wildlife on the road. Save the phone number for the local wildlife rescue service in your phone before you set out.
If you have any more tips on how to ensure the festive season is enjoyed by all members of the family, please leave us a comment!
If you want to read more good information, please go to - http://www.animalsaustralia.org/features/summer-survival-guide.php