We love our pets and want them to be happy and healthy all year round, and over the holidays. But the festive season can be hectic and between family days out and Christmas shopping, how can we make sure our pets enjoy this time as much as we do? What are some common myths and misconceptions about pet care? What are some top tips to keep our furry friends feeling their best?
Myth: Dogs' noses should be wet…
A wet nose doesn’t indicate good health, in the same way, a dry nose isn’t normally an issue. Dogs sweat through their nose which can make it moist in the summer and drier in winter. There’s usually no need for concern in either case; unless a dog’s nose is visibly running or significantly drier than usual. Either might be a sign of an underlying health concern, so book an appointment with your vet.
Myth: Dogs don’t feel the cold like humans do…
Whilst it’s true that some breeds of dogs can handle cold temperatures better than humans, their fur coats doesn’t mean they’re immune to frosty conditions. In the same way, we wrap up when we go outside, make sure your dog has a warm coat and adequate bedding in the winter months.
Myth: Cats should drink milk…
Cats generally love the taste of milk and cream but shouldn’t be given either regularly or at all. Cats are naturally lactose intolerant so milk and dairy products may give them an upset stomach.
Myth: Cats aren’t as affectionate as dogs…
Whilst dogs are pack animals, cats can crave human attention and interaction just as strongly as their canine friends. Whilst they roam outside independently, they also love to lounge inside with their owners and get very attached to those they trust. Ask any cat owner!
Myth: You’re either a dog person or a cat person…
Who says you have to choose? According to research from Petplan, 67% of UK pet owners have dogs; 45% of pet owners have cats and 31% own both dogs and cats. However, as the saying goes, all pets are for life and not just for Christmas!
Keeping pets feeling their best over Christmas and New Year
1. Don’t forget walkies!
As well as (regular!) playtime with their owners, cats just need access to their cat flap. But it’s so important to remember to take your dog for a walk every day as normal – including Christmas Day! At least 30 minutes outside the house is essential so they can stretch their legs and socialise with other dogs.
Do remember to wash your dog's paws and legs if they get muddy during woodland walks, to prevent Alabama Rot if this is something of concern around your area.
Use a pet activity monitor such as Felcana Go to track their activity and rest, inside and outside of the house. It’s a fun way to get a better understanding of their health and fitness and can be especially useful for older pets and those recovering from an illness. Its built-in bright light ensures you’ll never lose sight of your pet, making it a great addition for winter walks!
2. Beware of toxic foods at Christmas dinner!
We all like to indulge over the festive season but this doesn’t mean spoiling our pets with too many treats. Passing down tidbits from the dining room table can be particularly dangerous.
Never let your pets eat:
Mince pies. Aside from the sugar and fat content, harmful compounds in raisins can cause abdominal pain and long-term kidney damage.
Onion and garlic. In fact, all herbs in what’s known as the Allium family can cause pets to feel seriously unwell, by attacking red blood cells and their ability to carry oxygen around the body.
Turkey and chicken bones. Small sharp bones in these meats can splinter when chewed; lodging in the throat or intestine; causing significant discomfort and potentially life-threating organ damage.
Chocolate. Poisonous to all animals, side effects can include anything from vomiting to seizures and heart failure.
Grapes. As with raisins, grapes can cause serious abdominal discomfort and potential kidney failure.
3. Protect their snappers
Family and friends may treat your pet with doggy-friendly snacks when they come to visit, so this might mean spending a bit more time looking after their teeth. Whilst you can buy specialist canine teeth cleaning kits and chews, offering dogs a crunchy carrot is a cheap and easy way to get effective results!
Traditional decorations such as holly and ivy make our homes feel warm and inviting, but they can be highly toxic if ingested so keep them out of reach of pets. Cats love to climb and may make a beeline for the Christmas tree! But ingesting pine needles can cause illness, and their additional weight can bring the tree down altogether. Wrapping the base in aluminium foil can be a deterrent as cats don’t like the feel of it on their paws.
Elsewhere, keep lit candles away from surfaces that cats climb on - more than one house fire has been caused by errant tails and paws!
Keep track of their health and fitness with smart pet activity monitor, Felcana Go. The best Christmas present for your cat or dog.