It’s that time of year again and whether you are travelling or staying home, having guest over or having a quiet one, keeping our pets safe and entertained during the holiday season requires some thoughtful planning and consideration, and one that should not be overlooked.
Here's How to Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season
Here are comprehensive tips to ensure your pets have a happy and secure holiday experience:
Pro Safety Check-List Guide When Travelling With Pets
SECURE THE ENVIRONMENT
Pet Friendly Decorations
We love jazzing up our homes to get into the holiday mood, but decorations are not only an enticing game for all pets but can also be very dangerous, so choose decorations made of pet-friendly materials. Avoid using fragile glass ornaments (if you don’t want them broken), tinsel (Skip the tinsel, as it can be tempting for dogs to chew on and may lead to digestive issues if ingested), or small decorations that can pose a choking hazard if chewed or ingested. Choose decorations made from non-toxic materials. Consider native Australian plants like eucalyptus for a festive touch that's safe for pets.
Clean Up Promptly
Dogs might be attracted to the textures and smells of wrapping paper and ribbons. Dispose of these materials promptly to avoid any risk of ingestion or choking.
WATCH FOR TOXIC ITEMS
Avoid Toxic Plants
Research and be aware of plants commonly used during the holidays that can be toxic to pets, opt for safe alternatives like artificial decorations or pet-friendly greenery. Be Wary of Local Flora, while many Australian plants are pet-friendly, some can be toxic. Research and choose decorations with native plants that are known to be safe for pets.
Mind the Cords
Secure Electrical Cords: Your pup, cat or rabbit will love you for the new toy of a long dangly lead with colourful flashing lights. Use cord organizers or protective covers to hide electrical cords from holiday lights. This will prevent your pets from chewing on them and reduces the risk of electrical shocks.
FESTIVE FOODS WARNING
Provide a gentle reminder to guests about your pet's dietary restrictions if any. Create a designated area for food and ensure guests are informed not to share table scraps with pets. In Australia we have some unique holiday foods, and they can have serious potential impact on our pets. Ensure your guest understand not to share human food with pets, especially if it contains ingredients like chocolate, raisins, or onions, lollies.
CREATE A SAFE RETREAT
Set up a cosy retreat in a quiet room with your pet's bed, favourite toys, and water. This safe space provides them with a retreat if the noise or excitement becomes too much. As the holiday season in Australia can be warm, and your dog is outside ensuring the retreat space is cool and shaded. Provide water and perhaps a cooling mat for comfort.
Stick as closely as possible to your dog's regular feeding and exercise routine. Consistency provides them with a sense of normalcy amidst the holiday chaos.
Fireworks and Noise
Prepare a safe and quiet space for your dog during fireworks or noisy celebrations. This could be a room with minimal noise, where they can retreat until the commotion subsides.
Use a pet carrier or seatbelt harness to secure your pet during car travel. Bring familiar items like their blanket and toys to make them feel more comfortable in a new environment. If traveling with your pet during the warm Australian summer, ensure they have access to plenty of water to stay hydrated. Use shade and ventilation in the vehicle to keep them comfortable.
Vaccination, Worm and Tick Prevention
The east coast of Australia is renowned for paralysis tick that can be fatal to dogs. If travelling to these areas make sure your dog is up to date with all preventative measures to safeguard their wellbeing save you a huge vet bill and not ruin your holiday.
CHECK ID AND MICROCHIP
Ensure your pet's collar has a secure ID tag with updated contact information. If your pet is microchipped, verify that the registration details are current.
If using traditional candles, place them in areas where your dog can't access them. Alternatively, use flameless candles to eliminate the risk of burns or fires.
Use a Screen
Install a protective screen in front of the fireplace to prevent pets from getting too close to flames or hot surfaces. This ensures their safety while maintaining a cozy atmosphere.
Awareness of Bushfire Risk
During the summer holidays, especially in Australian regions prone to bushfires, stay informed about fire risks. If in an area susceptible to fires, have an emergency plan that includes pet evacuation.
Pet Entertainment Tips When on Holidays
ENGAGE IN INTERACTIVE PLAY
Introduce new toys that stimulate your pet's mind. Puzzle toys, interactive feeders, and toys that dispense treats, Farmer Pete’s treat of course, that can keep them engaged and entertained.
For dogs that enjoy water, consider incorporating water play into their activities, especially during hot Australian summers. Introduce toys that can be enjoyed in a shallow kiddie pool.
DIY Treat Puzzles
Create DIY treat puzzles using pet-safe materials. Hide treats in puzzle feeders, snuffle mats or toys to encourage mental stimulation and problem-solving. Take them on a sniff-a-thon.
Frozen Treat Puzzles
Create frozen treat puzzles using pet-safe ingredients. Freeze treats or toys in water to provide refreshing and engaging enrichment, particularly in warmer weather.
HOLIDAY WALKS AND ADVENTURES
Take your dog on walks in areas with holiday decorations. For indoor cats, provide interactive play with wand toys or laser pointers to keep them active. Plan walks early morning or late evening during the Australian summer to avoid the heat. Explore parks with shaded areas for a comfortable outing.
Dogs are usually very excited about meet and greets. Any visit to the local dog park, beach, or bunnings hardware will afford your dog plenty of opportunities to say hello and find out the history of other dogs. Something they are always keen to do. Butt Sniffing!
Include Them in Gift-Giving
Wrap up pet-friendly gifts like new bedding, toys (Farmer Pete’s tennis fetch toys), or treats. Let them participate in the unwrapping process, turning it into an interactive and exciting experience. There’s nothing better than watching an excited dog ripping into something they are actually allowed to have!
Amidst the holiday hustle, spend quality time with your pet. Whether it's cuddling on the couch or playing fetch in the backyard, your attention and companionship are valuable gifts.
If you're close to the coast, consider a beach day. Many dogs enjoy the water, and it's an excellent way to keep them cool while spending quality time together.
SAFE TREATS AND CHEWS
Purchase pet-safe treats and chews (Farmer Pete’s) for holiday snacks. Offer these special treats to your pet, allowing them to enjoy the festivities without compromising their health as they are 100% all natural with no artificial ingredients or additives. Your pets will love them!
CREATE A FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE
Include decorations that are pet-friendly, such as stockings with pet-themed designs or ornaments showcasing your pet's photo. Some pets enjoy watching holiday lights or a cheerful fish tank all lit up.
If celebrating in a backyard, consider pet-safe outdoor decorations. LED lights are often safer than traditional lights and can add a happy touch without excessive heat.
Play videos designed for pets with calming sounds or visuals. Many platforms offer videos featuring birds, fish, or nature scenes, providing entertainment for pets staying indoors.
Play videos featuring Australian wildlife for pets to enjoy like birds, possums, and other native animals on screen can be both entertaining and familiar. Has your dog ever gone crazy chasing a ball, jumping with people, or running after another animal while watching on the TV screen?
CONSIDER A PET SITTER OR DOGGIE DAY-CARE
If holiday gatherings become overwhelming, consider hiring a reliable pet sitter or enrolling your pet in a reputable day-care. This ensures they receive proper care and attention, especially if you're hosting events or traveling.
If temperatures are soaring, and you're unable to be with your pet, consider a pet sitter who can ensure your pet stays cool and comfortable. Some day-care facilities may also provide climate-controlled environments.
Overall Pet Safety Is Key To a Great Holiday
Remember that every dog is different, so pay attention to their individual needs and reactions. You know your dog best.
By combining these safety measures with engaging activities, you can create a holiday environment that keeps your pets secure and entertained. Pay attention to your pet's individual preferences and behaviour, making adjustments as needed to ensure their well-being throughout the holiday season.
Tailoring these tips to the Australian context takes into account the unique flora, fauna, and climate of the region. Always be mindful of the specific needs of your pet and make adjustments accordingly for a safe and enjoyable holiday season down under.