Top ten tips for Christmas…
1. Don’t take your dog for a walk in the freezing cold and rain. If it’s unavoidable make sure you dry him off as soon as possible.
2. Make sure your pets don’t get too over-excited small furries and birds can become stressed in a noisy room or house with lots of Christmas excitement and distraction. Be very careful when letting your pet bird out to play.
3. Don’t let your pet play unsupervised with a new toy; eg, take care when putting your hamster into an exercise ball, he cannot stop it whilst in it and may become exhausted if left for too long.
4. Remember your pond fish put a large hollow ball in the water, so you can easily take it out if the pond freezes over. This way your fish will get enough oxygen.
5. Ensure your Christmas tree is safe and stable. Cats love playing with dangling objects and baubles are too tempting to leave alone. A falling tree could cause major damage!
6. Think hazards! Christmas tree lights are an obvious danger, but small toys and tinsel can also be hazardous if swallowed.
7. Don’t over-feed your pet especially don’t give a big meal, then decide to go and play energetically with your dog in the hope it will burn off those extra pounds. This may make your dog prone to a gastric torsion; a very serious condition! Chocolate is harmful to dogs, rats and hamsters so ensure it’s not left out for them to steal!
8 Never buy a ‘Pet’ as a Christmas present this is too stressful a time to introduce a pet to its new family. You could buy a book about the pet instead so that the person can make an informed decision in the New Year!
9. Buy appropriate gifts for pets make sure they will be of benefit to your pet (rather than just make you feel good). For example a wheel for a hamster or mouse should be solid and the correct size.
10. In the excitement, don’t forget your outdoor pets like rabbits and guinea pigs. Ensure they are kept clean, warm and fed and watered daily.
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS is a Vet and Partner at Hillside Veterinary Centre in
Corfe Mullen. w: www.hillsidevets.co.uk. Follow us on Facebook