Pets can make Christmas a really magical time, especially for children so it makes sense to treat them over the holiday period…they might not understand what Christmas is, but they will still appreciate a new ball to play with or a tempting catnip mouse all the same.

We have lots of gift ideas in The Pet Place and online, from toys and treats to festive stockings, novelties and special Christmas crackers.  But don’t forget there are some aspects of Christmas that our pets might not appreciate…so take a little time to consider how to handle your pet during the busy Christmas period.

Caring for your pets this Christmas

  • Try to keep your animal’s routine the same
  • Don’t leave edible presents under the tree – even wrapped chocolates will be detected by your dog’s sensitive nose!
  • Hang Christmas decorations well out of your pet’s way, especially cats…more on this later!
  • Ensure your Christmas tree is stable
  • Do not feed your pet any cooked bones as they can splinter and cause injuries
  • Never use crackers or party poppers when your pet is in the room
  • Noisy parties can intimidate animals so provide your pet with a bed in a quiet part of the house
  • Be careful not to over indulge your pets as this can cause sickness

Just a few simple steps to make sure Christmas is a safe and happy time for you and your pets this year.

Cats and Christmas Trees

The arrival of your Christmas tree can be a very exciting time for your cat.  A brand new addition to discover with lots of shiny, dangly toys to play with! Cats and Christmas trees…an annual conundrum.  Keeping a curious cat away can be tricky, but there are a few steps we can take to cat proof the Christmas tree…

  1. Consider the type of tree.  Needles from real trees can hurt small paws, but artificial trees can be chewed and cause their own problems.  The main thing to consider is its size.  The smaller the tree the better.  The less clatter it will cause if the worse happens and your cat causes the tree to topple!
  2. Strong fixings.  Whatever type of tree you choose, make sure it has a strong and heavy base.  We sell a good range of tree stands and tree skirts which can be used to cover up the base.  If you have a real tree choose a base with a water container that isn’t accessible to your cat, so they can’t drink it.  And to make your tree even more secure try tying it to the wall or ceiling
  3. Safe location.  Try to choose a position that’s got a lot of space around it, away from other objects that a cat can jump from.  Make it as hard as possible for them to find a good launching point!
  4. Be smart with your decorations.  Try to avoid decorations that dangle too much, or those that spin and are crying out to be played with by your pet!  Use wire to tie your decorations to the tree to avoid movement and temptation and keep decorations away from the bottom branches.  It is also good idea to avoid tinsel or garlands as they will cause problems if your cat tries to eat it

There will always be cats who will try climb into your tree, they think it’s their job!  But if you take steps to cat proof it you can try to keep attempts to a minimum!

Caring for the birds

Whilst we are warm inside and enjoying the festive season, winter continues outside and it’s the season birds need us most.  Many of their food supplies dry up at this time of year and they need water too.  We have lots of bird-feeding products in our Pet Place from bird tables and hanging feeders to packs of seeds, peanuts and fat balls. Here are some ideas for keeping the birds happy this Christmas:

  1. Introduce a bird table to put out kitchen scraps such as meat fat, grated cheese, suet, oats and dried fruit
  2. Put out hanging feeders for unsalted peanuts, sunflower hearts and black sunflower seeds
  3. Don’t let food go rotten – ensure feeding areas a kept clean
  4. Ensure there is a supply of fresh water every day and make sure it doesn’t freeze
  5. Put up nest boxes for birds to roost in over winter and to nest in spring
  6. Leave an area of weeds such as nestles and thistles in a corner of the garden
  7. Don’t cut berry bearing hedges until after all the berries have gone, but before the birds can use them for nesting – January is ideal

For more information on how to care for birds this winter visit the RSPB website.

There might be a lot to think about with your pet, but most of all make sure you have some festive fun with your four-legged friends this Christmas time.