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Christmas Care—Organising Your Pet's Needs Ahead of the Festive Season

While the Christmas holidays bring warmth and merriment to households, it's essential to recognise that our pets may experience these moments quite differently. The holiday season, with its array of decorations, rich foods and increased social interactions, can pose unforeseen risks to our pets. Therefore, pre-Christmas organisation becomes not just a convenience but a vital responsibility.

From health considerations to emergency planning, here are our tips to guarantee a happy and healthy holiday season for both you and your pets.

Preventative Healthcare


The holiday season often involves gatherings with friends and family, creating an environment where pets may come into contact with unfamiliar animals. If your pet is boarding over the Christmas holidays and your pet isn’t up to date with their vaccinations, now is the time to get things in order.

Most facilities require cats to have a minimum of a F3 vaccination and dogs a C5 vaccination at least 2 weeks prior to boarding. Don’t forget to take your pet’s vaccination certificate with you when you admit your pet for boarding.

Parasite Prevention

Holidays bring about unique risks for pets concerning parasites. From increased outdoor activities to exposure to new environments, pets may face heightened vulnerability to parasites during this time, including exposure to ticks, fleas and other parasites.

1. Regular Grooming Routines: Grooming not only keeps your pet looking and feeling their best but also serves as a proactive means of parasite prevention. Brushing your pet's fur helps to remove dirt, debris and loose hair, minimising the risk of harbouring fleas and ticks. Additionally, routine grooming allows you to inspect your pets closely for any signs of skin irritation or unusual bumps that could indicate the presence of parasites.

2. Use of Vet-Recommended Preventatives: Whether it's topical treatments, oral medications or collars, our vet-recommended preventatives are tailored to your pet's specific needs. Exploring these options ensures a targeted and comprehensive defence against parasites, providing a layer of protection that extends well beyond the holiday season.

Nutritional Planning

Navigating the holiday season with pets requires thoughtful planning, especially when it comes to their nutritional needs. Disruptions to regular routines, such as visits to the pet store or veterinary clinic, can inadvertently impact the availability of your pet's regular food.

Ensuring ample supplies of food may involve stocking up on your pet's favourite brand or type of food well in advance. Consider the duration of the festivities, potential travel plans, and any unforeseen circumstances that might affect your ability to access pet supplies. By planning ahead and having a surplus of pet food, you create a buffer that safeguards against unexpected shortages.

Special Considerations for Holiday Treats

The holiday season often tempts families to share festive treats with their cats and dogs. However, not all Christmas fare is safe for pets. Foods that are toxic to pets, such as chocolate and certain spices, or bones and fatty scraps are some of the health risks associated with common holiday treats. Keep your dog away from foods such as chocolate, avocados, macadamias, onions, and nuts and raisins. They are toxic for dogs and can cause severe illness. Also avoid overfeeding - especially fatty foods which can cause gastrointestinal upsets or pancreatitis.

By offering healthy, veterinary approved alternatives and moderating treat intake, you can celebrate the holidays with your pets in a way that enhances the festive spirit without compromising their health.

Emergency Preparedness

Are you prepared for an emergency? Although we hope that our pets don't experience an emergency, it's always best to be prepared.

1. Have the phone numbers and address handy for your closest emergency vet hospital:

Ready Vet Go 0421 095 838

AEC Mt Waverley (03) 9803 8122

AEC Moorabbin (03) 9532 5261

2. Check directions for how to get there, and how long it will take. You could even do a practice run to get familiar with the route.

3. When travelling on holiday, check where the nearest emergency vet hospitals are in the locations you are visiting.

4. Keep 2 x pet first aid kits, one for the home and one for the car.

Creating a Pet First Aid Kit

A well-equipped pet first aid kit is an indispensable tool in ensuring your pet's safety during emergencies. Items that should be included in a comprehensive pet first aid kit include:

A well-prepared pet emergency first aid kit is an essential tool for every pet owner. While the specific items may vary based on your pet's individual needs and any pre-existing health conditions, here is a general list of items to include in a pet first aid kit:

1. Gauze Pads and Bandages:

- Non-stick gauze pads for covering wounds

- Adhesive bandages (band-aids) for minor cuts

2. Adhesive Tape:

- Surgical or medical tape for securing bandages

3. Scissors:

- Small, blunt-end scissors for trimming fur or cutting bandages

4. Tweezers:

- To safely remove splinters, ticks or other foreign objects

5. Antiseptic Wipes or Solution:

- To clean wounds and prevent infection

6. Antiseptic (Chlorhex):

- For cleaning wounds (consult with our veterinarians before using)

7. Cotton Balls or Swabs:

- For cleaning wounds or applying topical treatments

8. Rectal Thermometer:

- Digital thermometers designed for rectal use to monitor your pet's temperature

9. Disposable Gloves:

- To protect yourself when administering first aid

10. Blanket or Towel:

- Can be used for warmth, restraint or as an improvised stretcher

11. Instant Cold Pack:

- To reduce swelling or cool your pet in case of overheating

12. Pet-Safe Lubricant:

- For easing the insertion of rectal thermometers or administering medications

13. Muzzle:

- In case your pet is in pain or injured to prevent biting (use with caution)

14. Styptic Powder or Gel:

- To stop bleeding from minor cuts or broken nails

15. Saline Solution:

- For flushing out eyes or wounds

16. Medical Records and Contact Information:

- Copies of your pet's medical records and vaccination history

- Emergency contact information for your veterinarian

- Local emergency veterinary clinic contact details

17. Pet Medications:

- Any medications your pet is currently taking, along with instructions

18. Pet First Aid Booklet:

- A guide or booklet on basic pet first aid procedures

Remember to periodically check and update your pet's first aid kit, ensuring that medications have not expired, and all items are in good condition. Additionally, consult with our vets for personalised advice based on your pet's health and specific needs.

Pet Safety

The holiday season can be overwhelming for pets with its array of sights, sounds and activities. Creating designated safe spaces for your pets is crucial in helping them cope with potential stressors.

Ways to keep your pets safe during festivities:

  1. Place Christmas lights and electrical cords out of reach of curious kittens and pups. Electrical cords can look like a tasty chew toy to many pets!

  2. Secure your pet in a safe and quiet area away from fireworks, loud parties and strangers. Identify a quiet and secure area within your home where pets can retreat when they feel anxious or overwhelmed. It could be a cosy corner with their bed, blankets and favourite toys. Thunder jackets or pheromone diffusers such as Feliway or Adaptil may assist with keeping your pet calm around loud noises. You may wish to consider boarding your pet elsewhere overnight. In cases of severe anxiety, please consult with our vets about desensitisation techniques or possibly medications.

  3. While we’re out partying and visiting friends and relatives, our pets can suffer from separation anxiety and boredom, which can also lead to destructive habits. Make sure that your pets have free access to food, water and shelter while you are gone. Provide them with chew toys and activities to keep them mentally stimulated, and consider a pet-sitting service to check on them and take your dog out for a walk.

  4. Keep your pets safe around the pool by ensuring that fences are pet-proof. Cover gaps and check regularly for holes or tunnel digging. Keep furniture away from the fence to prevent your dog from jumping over. Remove any tarps or nets if you are going out.

Travel Considerations

Travelling with pets during the holiday season requires careful planning, particularly when it comes to choosing pet-friendly accommodations. Find suitable lodging that welcomes pets, and check for nearby parks or walking areas. Planning ahead ensures a comfortable and stress-free stay for both pets and their families.

Secure pets in properly sized and well-ventilated carriers, use a seat belt or harness designed for pets in vehicles, and acclimate pets to travel gradually to reduce stress.

By implementing the strategies outlined above, pet parents can create a safe, festive and harmonious environment for their pets to share in the joy of the season. From preventive healthcare to stress management and thoughtful travel considerations, the commitment to your pets' well-being enhances the holiday experience for both you and your pets.


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