Summer and the holiday season can be great chances to relax and, hopefully, catch up with family and friends and spend quality time with the animals in our lives.
But the holiday season can also bring dangers or stressful experiences for our pets, so here are some key things to watch out for this summer and tips on how to make sure your pets have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
All animals are susceptible to heatstroke, and it can be fatal if not treated.
When the temperature gets high, you can help manage the risk of heatstroke by making sure your pets have cool, shaded and well-ventilated areas and access to clean, fresh drinking water.
Avoid exercising your pet in the extreme heat. On very hot days, try to walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening.
Learn to recognise the signs of heatstroke which can include relentless panting, drooling, salivation, agitation, restlessness, very red or pale gums, a bright red tongue, breathing distress, vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, weakness and muscle tremors. Take your dog to a vet urgently, even if you just suspect they have suffered heatstroke.
Small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets, birds, rats and mice are highly susceptible to heatstroke, as are flat-faced breeds like pugs, French bulldogs, British bulldogs and Boston terriers.
And don't ever leave an animal in a car, even if the windows are down or it's in the shade. A dog can die in a hot car in just minutes.
You might have a pretty good idea of what not to feed your pet, but Christmas can mean there's all sorts of new food in the house, and often in more accessible locations.
Watch out for chocolate; members of the Allium family like onions, garlic, chives and leeks; tomatoes; macadamia nuts; grapes, including raisins and sultanas (an ingredient in many Christmas cakes); avocado and products containing caffeine or alcohol.
Be careful if these things are under a Christmas tree, or anywhere that your pet might have access to them.
Some common holiday decorations can cause problems for our pets. In particular, watch out for tinsel (a choking hazard) and glass ornaments (which can break in your pet's mouth).
It's best to keep these ornaments high up and out of your pet's reach, and keep an eye on their interactions with the Christmas tree.
Depending on your pet, having a house full of new people can be stressful. Make sure that your pet has a safe place to retreat to away from people, and that all children are supervised around animals.
Closely watch your pets around all unfamiliar people - make sure, for example, that they are not being fed any problematic food by anyone else. If you have an indoor cat, keep an eye on the front door when you have guests coming and going to make sure your cat doesn't escape.
While there's often not much you can do to stop fireworks happening, you can take some steps to make it safer for pets when they are occurring.
Dogs have been known to jump through plate glass windows or jump over fences that would normally contain them during a fireworks display, such is their degree of fear.
You can help prevent this by keeping them indoors if possible, closing the curtains and creating a comfortable hiding place, while engaging them in normal activities such as playing and rewarding their calm behaviour.
Cats should also be kept indoors.
They will generally find a safe place to hide and venture out when the noise stops, so you can help by making sure they have safe and comfortable hiding places.
Rabbits and other small animals such as guinea pigs should also be safely housed during fireworks displays.
You can check our Knowledgebase for more tips to help make sure the holiday season is a safe and happy one for the animals in our lives.
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