In our house, and I’m sure in many more, our pets are a part of our Christmas. We have 3 fish (ok, they don’t get so involved) 2 Guinea pigs, a cat and a dog. We get so excited to involve them in the festivities but Christmas can be a bit chaotic and stressful for animals.
The RSPCA website offers a whole host of ideas and tips to help you pets cope and in particular, they have written about Keeping your Pet Safe at Christmas.
Our cat, Honey, can be a little unwelcoming to guests. She can be unwelcoming to me as well! She does like a bit of a fuss but it has to be on her terms. As we are likely to have a houseful on Boxing Day, I’ll be following the RSPCA advice and trying to keep routines as similar as possible and also by setting her up a little area to retreat to. She often settles in the front room but as every chair will be full, I’m setting her up in the spare room with a comfy blanket and also I’ll spray the carpet, blanket and air with the Felliway spray. Felliway emits an odourless scent that can help reduce your cat’s stress levels and prevent / treat problem issues such as scratching and spraying. You can buy a plug in but as most of my house is open plan, it’s hard to concentrate it in one area so I chose the spray for a targeted hit when required. You can also get a version called Adaptil for dogs but we have as yet to try this.
The Guinea Pigs will enjoy life as usual and I’ll make sure that they aren’t over handled etc or overfed by well meaning guests. They’ll get an extra ball of hay to burrow in and eat on Christmas morning too.
Bella, our labrador A D O R E S people. She gets so excited when people come over which is lovely to see but I also need her to be able to relax and not be in everyone’s faces all day long.
To help her do this, we’ll make sure that she gets her usual exercise and food routines and to make this extra fun, I’ve bought her (and everyone else because it’s ace) a NERF GUN for DOGS which shoots tennis balls! Seriously, this bit of kit is amazing! We usually use a ball thrower – the type where it holds a ball and you go through the usual throwing motion but it sends the ball flying further than I can certainly manage without, but they’ve all broken in the end. I bought a new one the other day and the ball holder bit is too tight – it won’t let go of the ball unless you jerk it tremendously hard and in doing so, I TORE a muscle in my forearm. How on earth? Seriously, only me. The Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Gun takes all chance of injury away (unless Bear gets hold of it and shoots me) and is brilliant fun for everyone.
We also ordered all the pets a gift from the RSPCA website. When you buy from them, you support them to rescue and rehabilitate other animals which makes me want to shop with them over anyone else. They also sell products on amazon as well – just search for RSPCA.
We love a bit of crafting and baking in our house and so we are also going to make Bella some dog biscuits as a treat and present – the recipe for which, we found on the RSPCA website.
If you’d like to make them, the recipe is below.
- 250ml water
- 1 banana, mashed
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 600g whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c
- Lightly grease 2 large baking trays or line with baking paper
- Combine all the wet ingredients
- Stir in the dry ingredients
- Mix the dough in a mixer or by hand until all combined
- Place the dough on a floured surface and knead until no longer sticky
- Roll out the dough to approximately 1/1.5 cm thick and cut into mini shapes. If you don't have a cutter, you can just cut them into squares
- Put the biscuits on the baking trays and put in the oven until lightly browned - this should take approximately 20 mins but depends on size and thickness
- Turn the oven off but leave the biscuits in the oven for 40 mins until they are fully dry and crisp
- Let them cool on a wire rack and then let your dog give you their verdict. Try them yourself if you like!
So how many pets do you have? Do you buy them gifts an give them a stocking? Bella has her own advent calendar this year with doggy chocolates inside. Madness.
Do check out the RSPCA’s post for any tips and I hope that you and your pets have a wonderful Christmas. Remember that chocolate and raisins (so Christmas Pudding and Mince Pies) are poisonous to dogs so don’t share no matter how big their soppy eyes get.