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Spending a Happy Christmas with your Pet

Zoe the vet shares ideas on how to have a Happy Christmas with your pet

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR DOGS & CATS

Over 90% of pet owners will buy presents for their cats or dogs this Christmas and over half will hang up a stocking for them.
Of course we feel our pets are part of the family and want to include them in our festive celebrations.  But with shops advertising diamond studded cat flaps, personalised dog wigwams, elf costumes and angel wings, what really are the best Christmas gifts for our pets?

Toys

Christmas can be a hectic time and pets can get bored if they are not getting as much attention from you as they are used to.  Why not buy seasonal rawhide chews for dogs, or a turkey flavoured rubber bone?  These will keep them busy and are much better for them than Christmas leftovers. We have a great range of Christmas dog toys, which make ideal pet gifts for the festive season.
Cats will love chasing festive toys like wand teasers and for geeky cats who get jealous if their owner spends too much time on the computer you can even buy a cardboard cat scratch laptop!
Brain games are a great way to stave off boredom and cats and dogs alike will enjoy puzzling how to get treats out of these, keeping them happy in the darker winter evenings.
 

Exercise

The best present you can give your pets is your time and affection.  Why not take dogs on a nice long walk in the fresh air with a new reflective collar or coat to keep them safer in the dark? For those who need a bit more exercise try an automatic ball launcher to give your arms a break, or a Christmas pudding shaped tennis ball.
Keeping warm
It’s also important to keep your pet warm this Christmas.  For owners looking to spoil their furry friends you could opt for a personalised snuggle blanket.  More simply a new cosy bed or coat for older pets will help keep the winter chill away.
Pets as gifts
Do not be tempted to give pets as Christmas presents.  A fluffy bundle of puppy can be exciting to open on Christmas morning, but it can be disastrous in the long term.  People need to have time to make sure they are willing to take on the life-long responsibility of looking after a pet and be sure they really want one.

CHRISTMAS FOOD FOR DOGS & CATS

Often owners want to let their pets share in Christmas Dinner, with many having their own special festive bowls and some even a place at the table!  It’s very important that cats and dogs are not just given our leftovers - a lot of seasonal ingredients can be toxic to cats and dogs.

However there are some yummy Christmas treats for pets to enjoy, just make sure they don’t have too much of anything.

Turkey
Small amounts of white turkey meat is fine, but make sure you don’t give pets skin or bones.  A tiny amount of cranberry sauce is OK as long as it doesn’t contain other added fruits, nuts or sweeteners.

Potatoes
Plain mashed or boiled potatoes are a tasty treat but not too much as they are very starchy and pets can have trouble digesting them. 

Vegetables
Most green vegetables are fine for pets, they too can enjoy Brussel sprouts!  Make sure you avoid corn on the cob, onions, garlic and leeks.

Eggs
Eggs are a great source of protein and can be a healthy Christmas breakfast treat.

Salmon
Another tasty food that’s good for your pet’s health.

There are lots of specially designed cat and dog Christmas dinners that you can buy.  As long as they are made up of turkey, salmon, rice, potatoes and vegetables then they will be fine for your pet. 
It can be tempting to want to spoil your pets at this time of year and the choice of seasonal stocking fillers is enormous, but beware of giving too many Christmas dog and cat treats.  Just like us, over indulging can make pets ill! If you have any questions regarding your pet’s diet over the festive season, consult our vet for free advice.

However you choose to spend Christmas with your pet, have a very happy time together. 

Happy Christmas!