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10 Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas

Blog Header Christmas stress 

Christmas is an exciting time for us. It’s the opportune time of year to meet with friends and family, indulge in festive meals and tasty treats and welcome in a brand new year. 

However, amongst all the commotion, it can sometimes slip our minds that actually Christmas can be quite a stressful experience for our furry friends. There are more people than usual entering their home, strange and loud noises occurring at random moments and new scents that their noses have never come across before. 

To help you make Christmas as stress-free as possible, we’ve gathered ten top tips that will help you prepare your pet for whatever the festive season may bring. 

Stick to your pet’s normal daily routine

A change in routine, including missed walks, late mornings and different feeding times can all add to your pet feeling anxious or stressed. Alleviate stress and stick to the routine that your pet is used to by feeding and walking them at their usual times.   

Decorate your house early but gradually 

Decorations may help make your home feel festive but to cats and dogs, they are something new to explore and play with. Begin decorating your house with small decorations and kick start the process sooner rather than later.

Be careful with the kinds of decorations you put up. Tinsel looks pretty but it can get wrapped between your pet’s feet and cause injuries. Make sure your pet is supervised at all times or avoid putting decorations up where your pet is likely to play. 

Create a safe haven for your pet 

Your pet may have a special spot they turn to when want to feel safe and protected. If you can, create a space in an empty room with their favourite toys, bedding and water and be sure to check on them to make sure they are OK.  

Do not feed your pet turkey or chicken bones 

Bones splinter easily and can get stuck in your pet’s throat or injure their mouth or stomach. Make sure you advise your guests not to feed your pet, especially children.

Be careful with Christmas plants 

Certain festive plants are poisonous. Poinsettia can cause vomiting, excess salivation and lethargy, whilst mistletoe and holly can cause vomiting and diarrhoea. 

Don’t be tempted to feed your pet human food 

Chocolate can be poisonous to cats and dogs as it contains an ingredient called theobromine. Make sure you do not leave chocolate treats out in the open where your pet could eat them. 

Make sure children are supervised 

Children may want to fuss over your pet but this will cause your pet to feel stressed. Ensure children are fully supervised and try to make children approach your pet in a calm manner. 

Advise your guests on some safety rules 

Tell your guests to close doors behind them when they enter in and out of different rooms and ensure that windows are shut. Your pet may unexpectedly wonder or even try to escape when they are feeling stressed. 

Spot the signs of stress 

There are some evident signs that you’ll notice if your pet is feeling stressed and these signs will help you take action: 

  • Trembling or shaking
  • Hiding behind furniture
  • Soiling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pacing and panting
  • Excessive licking or grooming
  • Biting, growling or snarling
  • Repetitive yawning
  • Consistent barking or meowing 

Purchase a stress relief product for your pet 

There are a variety of non-prescription, natural products available to help negate the effects of stress and anxiety in pets. Feliway and Adaptil use pheromones which are odourless to people but have a calming effect on your pet in stressful situations. Your vet will be able to advise you on the most suitable product for your pet. 

Your pets are part of your family, and we want them to enjoy the festive period as much as you do. 

All our practices operate a 24-hour service, so if your pet requires emergency treatment in the early hours of the morning or late at night, you can call your local Medivet practice using our online practice finder to be directed to a 24-hour emergency care service accordingly. 

On behalf of the Medivet family, we would like to wish you and your furry friends a Merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year! 

Posted December 22, 2015 by Cara Zaleski in Seasonal Care

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