With the onset of December comes the build up to Christmas and whether you love it or hate it, the festivities are hard to miss. Christmas is a time for cherishing what we have; friends, family and our pets. We recently conducted a survey and found that 85% of people buy their pet a Christmas present. Upon reading these statistics I wondered to what extent cats and dogs were involved in Christmas activities and in what ways people include their pets.
Christmas Day can be really busy, meaning that pets can feel pushed out but they may not understand why. Making time to spend with your pet earlier in the day before the festivities begin can help them have a wonderful family Christmas. For dog owners the most inexpensive festive treat is a lovely long walk, somewhere that has a lot of greenery and space to run around. It can be a really great present for an eager canine and it may help them to settle down during the more hectic periods of the day.
Feeding your pet the leftover Christmas dinner is a tempting way to treat them but, although they absolutely love it, it can be bad for them. Christmas dinners typically contain foods that have high levels of salt and saturated fat. Whilst some dogs may be able to tolerate ingesting such foods, many more will not, with potential side-effects including upset stomachs and vomiting. I found that well over half of cat and dog owners in the UK now make a special Christmas dinner for their beloved pets. This is a great idea as it means we can involve our pets without feeding them human food that potentially may be dangerous.
Giving cooked bones to pets should also be avoided; bones from poultry are brittle meaning they can splinter and stick in a pet’s throat, in fact any bones can be dangerous once they are cooked. Once you have cleared up after Christmas dinner it can be a good idea to take the bin bags outside so that there is no chance of a curious pet with their super-powered nose sniffing out the leftovers. As an alternative there are a whole host of recipes available that show you how to make tasty Christmas treats for your cats and dogs. Whipping up a treat like dog mince pies and catnip biscuits means that they can enjoy the experience of a festive feast without a resulting tummy ache and potential rushed out-of-hours trip to the vet.
Another nice way to make a dog feel involved with the special day is to treat them to a present and play hide and seek with it. There is an abundance of pet-specific treats and toys for sale which will provide enjoyment all year round. There are even companies that sell pet-safe wrapping paper. Remember, though, it is best to do this once all the human presents have been opened and all litter has been cleaned away. It may also be wise to keep the presents out of reach until just before you are ready to open your them, or at the very least try and remove any presents that rattle suspiciously like chocolate, sweets or biscuits; if you can guess it is edible you can be sure your dog will!
Do you have a special pet-specific dinner recipe you could share? What do you do to involve your cat or dog during the festive period? Please let us know in the comments box below as we really do love hearing your thoughts.