We know that being kind to your pet goes without saying, but we wanted to offer some extra advice as the festive season is upon us.

The holiday season of festivities and food and visitors can cause some concerns for our pets. Always remember that the kindest thing you can do for your pet is remember their sensitivities and be aware of their needs.

Our pets love their routine. It provides them (and us) with security and comfort. Always make sure to keep to your pet’s walking/eating routine as far as is possible as the festive season becomes busier.

An increase in visitors in their homes can stress some of our pets, especially as more people result in an increase in noise and sadly in tensions as distant family members gather together. Our pets are natural empaths and will absorb any tensions that we may be feeling, so always ensure that as the noise level or stress levels increase in a busy household, that they always have access to a safe ‘bolthole’ where they can escape any loud noises or tensions and they feel secure.

Remember that our pet’s sense of smell is far superior to ours and any gifts left carefully wrapped under the tree that contain food either for them or for family members, are a huge temptation to our greedier pets out there. They cannot be told off for tearing off the wrappings and indulging in the full contents (even if it was meant for them), so just keep these edible gifts out of reach. Remember that chocolate should not be fed to pets.

The same goes for any foods that are poisonous to our pets. If you are preparing a fruitcake full of raisins, ensure that your pet has no access to the kitchen cupboard or surfaces where they may ingest foods that contain raisins or grapes.

Share in the festive foods with your pet (as they are part of the family) but avoid the rich fatty parts of any meat, any sharp bones and any stuffing or foods that contain onions, leeks or garlic.

Keep rubbish bins tied up to prevent any scavenging of your pets while you are busy entertaining. Any mouldy food can be dangerous if eaten by your pet.

Certain festive indoor plants can be poisonous to cats such as Poinsettias and Lilies and Mistletoe. Those long strings of tinsel may look pretty in your home, but they may prove irresistible to a young cat and if swallowed can be harmful so maybe give them away to friends with no pets!

Take long healthy walks in the fresh air away from the business of the home, being mindful to allow your dogs plenty of time to sniff each blade. This is their time to really stimulate their senses – especially our elderly dogs.

Frozen smells are packaged and even more inviting to your dogs so allow them time to enjoy their winter walks – what they will most enjoy this festive season!

riverforest vets leixlip