CHRISTMAS can be a stressful time for everyone – but people often forget that their pets can be just as stressed as they are.
The RSPCA has put out a call to pet owners, reminding them that Christmas festivities can often bring big risks to pets’ physical and emotional wellbeing.
RSPCA WA’s community engagement executive manager Maree Daniels said Christmas Day was usually busier than normal for most households.
“Understandably children can become overly excited and hyperactive on such a big day and some animals may not cope well with this or may not be used to having children around,” she said.
“It’s important to remember that even the friendliest, most patient dog can become a danger when stressed, particularly to children – so be mindful of your pet and how they are coping during the height of activity such as when children are running around or trying out their new toys.”
Tips to help pets on Christmas Day:
- Create a space in a part of the house that is cool and calm where your pet can retreat to if they begin to feel overwhelmed with too many people.
- Pay attention to your pet’s body language and if you notice your pet showing signs of anxiety – including excessive yawning and lip licking in dogs – take them away to their ‘safe space’ so they can relax.
- Try not to spoil your pet too much with human food either, no matter how much they might enjoy it, and never give your pet food that is known to be toxic to them.
- Many foods that are commonly consumed at Christmas can be extremely harmful to dogs, including cooked bones, fats from meat, onions, chocolate and raisins – instead buy some animal friendly treats to spoil your pet with on Christmas Day.