Dog in Christmas hat

Christmas Gatherings and the impact on your older pet

Christmas is quite rightly a time that most people will spend with their friends, family and furry companions. If you’re planning on playing host this year, it’s worth remembering that pets can be sensitive to changes in their routine, especially as they get older.

But how can we make sure that everyone has an enjoyable Christmas, including your pet? Well, we’ve put together some advice for pet owners planning gatherings at home this Christmas…

Create a safe space for your pet

Make sure your pet has a quiet, safe and secluded space they can go to away from the action. This space should include good, water and a comfortable bed, and of course some of their favourite toys. Cats may need access to the outside, or a little box, depending on their normal routine and environment.  Calming music and pheromone sprays are also good for safe spaces.

Maintain a normal routine (as much as possible!)

The thing that may increase your pet’s anxiety the most is feeling as though their normal routine has been interrupted – whether that’s meal, sleeping or exercise times. Try to keep disruption to their normal day to day routine as minimal as possible, to make them feeling more settled and less anxious.

Groom and exercise your pet

Grooming is a great bonding experience that can soothe your pet before guests arrive. A long walk or extended play time can leave your pet feeling happily exhausted before the party.

Give them reassurance if they need it

It can be easy to forget about your pet when entertaining guests, but they made need a little reassurance if there are lots of new people (and smells!) in their environment. That may mean an extra stroke, or maybe a special treat or two. For cats, respond to their needs – don’t force attention on them if they clearly want to be left alone, just let them know occasionally that you’re still there.

Manage your pet’s introduction to guests

Especially when it comes to Children, pets can get a lot of fuss an attention from guests, which can be unwelcome if they are feeling uncertain. Manage how your guests are introduced to your pet – this could mean ensuring that your dog has met them all and knows they aren’t a threat, or keeping people away from your cat if they want to hide away.

Keep an eye on Christmas grub!

With everything that’s going on, it may be easier for your dog to sniff out and sneak off with some Christmas leftovers – but did you know that many Christmas foods such as stuffing (with onion in), mince pies with raisons and of course chocolate, can be harmful to your pet? Make sure you keep an eye on your dog and any stray pieces of food to avoid festive trips to the vet!