December 15, 2017

Jingle bells, Fido smells, Granny fed him something strange! Cat’s up the tree, gerbil’s gone AWOL, and what’s that beeping… the smoke alarm! Christmas can be an eventful time for humans and our furry friends, so how can you make it a festive season everyone enjoys?

Though we can’t help you achieve the perfect spuds, we can give you some advice for happier pets. It comes in three stages – Christmas Past, Christmas Presents, Christmas Future! So let’s start by stepping back in time…

Learn from Christmas Past

The best way to have a brilliant festive season with your pets is to learn from Christmases past. Take a trip down memory lane, and see if you can identify your pet as one of the following:

Fabulously Festive*

Happy, calm and a delight to have around, your pet is the icing on your Christmas cake, and the star at the top of the tree. They love to meet visitors, but aren’t too bothered about decorations or disruption. They take everything in their stride, and even look at the camera for the obligatory festive selfies!

Party Popper

There’s always one who takes things a bit far… and that’s your pet. He or she sees the decorations as toys to be destroyed, the tree as a climbing frame, and every guest as a potential new playmate. Fun, playful and very much full of beans, these cats and dogs may make you giggle, but they can also put themselves in potentially dangerous situations. They can also leave you tearing your hair out as you re-decorate that tree for the 25th time!

Greedy Guts

Don’t turn your back on the the Christmas treats for a second – or Greedy Guts will strike! Though tucking into all the festive treats tends to be a canine pursuit, some cats can be surprisingly piggy too! From the counter-surfers to the Houdini-esque cupboard openers, the present-unwrappers, right through to the ornament scoffers and the Santa-snack snafflers, festive success is all about preparation and prevention with a Greedy Guts!

Scaredy Scrooge

Last but not least, we have the Christmas-haters. Many dogs and cats find new things, visitors and disruption to their routine stressful and in some cases scary, so can’t help their ‘humbug’ tendencies. If your pet tends to hide, shy away from visitors, or go off their food over the festive period, it may be that they’re trying to tell you something… that they find our fun festivities a scary ordeal.

Christmas Present – things to do for a fantastic festive season

Got a handle on your pet’s festive personality type? Let’s move to Christmas Present to see how to make the big day a breeze…

Easy breezy Xmas with your Fabulously Festive* pet

Though your pet may be practically perfect in every way, keep an eye on their diet, and be careful to manage their stress levels. Sometimes seemingly happy pets are actually feeling quite stressed – it’s a good idea to learn the signs of nervous dogs  and worried cats so you can manage their environment if festive fun gets a bit much.

Top tips:

  • Keep up their routine – don’t forget to give them lots of attention.
  • Don’t forget their Christmas present – we’ll be sharing some suggestions soon.
  • Remind little ones to be gentle, and to only ever stroke with one hand – this stops your pet feeling smothered.
  • Always supervise pets and children.

Getting your Party Popper under control

Of all the pet personalities, these super-fun, super-playful pets are the most challenging to manage. Mostly it’s about keeping the safe, and reducing their energy levels in safe, healthy ways!

Playful pets are the ones most at risk of festive injuries, try and supervise them carefully. If you can’t be around some of the time, try to concentrate all the festive fun in a single room where you can close the door and keep your pet out if you’re not around to supervise.

Top tips:

  • Avoid flashing lights – they’re particularly tempting to dogs who like to play and chew.
  • Make sure wires and presents aren’t accessible – consider a baby pen/barrier around the tree if you can’t keep your unsupervised pet in a different room.
  • Watch out for needles – they can get stick in paws and coats, ouch!
  • Don’t buy glass ornaments – bouncy dogs, adventurous cats and fragile decor don’t make a happy mix.
  • Don’t shout at them if they’re ‘naughty’ – it’s better to encourage good behaviour through positive reinforcement.

Greedy Guts

Always on the scrounge for a snack, Greedy Guts will take advantage of every opportunity to tuck in. It’s not easy to keep food out of reach at all times, but with a bit of forethought, practice and preparation it is possible.

Top tips:

  • Wear them out – get out in the fresh air away from all the tempting treats!
  • Have some fun – try brain games for dogs and cats to distract these cheeky guzzlers.
  • Prepare the Kongs! – more one for dogs than cats, but you can feed their daily ration in Kongs (add water and freeze if they get kibble) to keep them food-focused in the right way!
  • Make the family aware – have a strict ‘no human food for the pets’ rule, and be really consistent. Pets find inconsistency confusing, and people get mixed up about what’s pet-safe and what’s not.
  • Give them some quiet time – use a crate if you have a dog, or a quiet room for cats, especially if you’re preparing food or can’t properly supervise.
  • Don’t forget edible decorations and presents – dogs have an amazing sense of smell, so though wrapping paper might fool you, Fido will sniff out the tasty treats in seconds. Try a present shelf, or pop a guard around the tree to reduce scrounging.

If you’ve got a particularly clever cat or dog, invest in child locks – and keep tempting and poisonous treats in a kitchen cupboard, safely locked away.

Scaredy Scrooge

For the pets who find the festive season stressful, there are plenty of ways to help. Try and reduce disruption by keeping decorations and visitors in one area of the home, away from your pet’s bed. Dogs can benefit from a calming supplement like YuCALM Dog (start a couple of weeks before Christmas). Simply add a couple of drops to their water bowl.

Top tips

  • Don’t encourage children to play with your pet if he or she is seems fearful or stressed.
  • Let your pet hide if he or she wants to – even on ‘the big day’.
  • Don’t dress your dog up, or make your cat wear a festive collar.
  • Try and stick to their routine – don’t skip walkies or their evening saucer of cat-milk.

Christmas Future – prepare for every eventuality

What if something goes wrong on the day? We haven’t got a crystal ball, but we have got some suggestions to help all have a safe, happy Christmas.

Don’t give them a full Xmas dinner

A big bowl of festive cheer may be a delicious treat, but a sudden change of diet can lead to, ahem, digestive wobbles. Stick with regular pet food instead. If you really feel your pet is missing out, a small amount of lean, white meat (less than half their full ration) is a less-risky treat.

Check your vet’s festive opening times

Most vets provide 24/7 emergency care, but it’s a good idea to know where you stand. It might also be a good idea to have a pet-friendly taxi number in case everyone’s had a couple of sherries!

Be tummy-rumble ready

Stock up on YuDIGEST PLUS for Dogs (it also works for cats), and have some chicken and rice on standby in case treats are sneaked, and tummies get a bit sensitive.

Make a pet first aid kit

Antiseptic wipes, gauzes, bandages, a skin salve like YuCARE Skin Cream might all come in handy.

Know – and print out – the pet poison list.

Take a look here, or download it here in a printable format. Pop it on the fridge, so you can check in an instant if you need an emergency vet visit if your pet guzzles something they shouldn’t.

Have fun together!

Don’t forget to include your pet in your festive plans. Make your dog’s day and get the whole family out for a fun Christmas hike, and indulge your cat with lots of games and fuss if they enjoy attention. Christmas is a time for family, and here at Lintbells, pets are right at the heart of ours.

Does your pet enjoy Christmas? Have you got some festive photos to share? Maybe you’ve got some suggestions and ideas for presents for pets? We’d love to hear about how you celebrate, so why not leave a comment, or or join in the chat on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

*Please let us know if you are lucky enough to share you life with a Fabulously Festive. We’re not sure anyone’s pet is actually THAT perfect…!

Does your pet enjoy Christmas? Have you got some festive photos to share? Maybe you’ve got some suggestions and ideas for presents for pets? We’d love to hear about how you celebrate, so why not leave a comment, or or join in the chat on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

*Please let us know if you are lucky enough to share you life with a Fabulously Festive. We’re not sure anyone’s pet is actually THAT perfect…!

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