It’s December. There is festive music in the air, red Starbucks cups are out, the shopping malls are crowded, and for many, lots of family visiting. Maybe you’re hosting the holiday get together this year and all the kids (and their kids!) are coming home to spend Christmas together; or maybe you’re packing up the suitcases to spend a first Christmas with the youngest member of the extended family. Either way, the holidays can involve a lot of travel and lots of new kids, or pets, coming in and out of the house. If you’re planning on bringing the family dog with you as you cross state lines, or if you need to prep the house-cat for the grand-kids over the weekend, here a couple reminders to keep everyone safe and happy.
- Make sure every animal has a safe place to escape to – maybe the dog has a kennel in the back room where the grand-kids aren’t allowed to visit. Or the cat has a cat tree in the private den.
- Make sure anytime the animals are interacting with the kids they have a way leave the situation. Most pets don’t want to hurt anyone, they just want to protect themselves. If they are trapped in a scary situation, even the best pet may lash out in fear. Make sure family pets are not held in place by a collar or leash, and they are not backed into a corner. Then, if they scared, they can choose to run and escape, rather than going on the offense.
- Avoid leaving any high value objects laying around – don’t leave Fluffy’s favorite stuffy laying around on the floor for the toddler to pick up and cuddle; don’t let the kindergartner run around with a handful of snacks while Rover is chasing after him. Heightened emotions from all the added noise and strange people added to the excitement of the food or object itself, can lead pets to act with more force or reactivity than they might in an otherwise normal situation
- Don’t let kids chase the dog or cat. It might seem like a fun game of tag for the kids, but it can be intimidating or frightening for pets who aren’t used to that sort of interaction.
- Most importantly ALWAYS always closely supervise when the dogs/cats/kids are playing together. Even if everyone knows the rules, sometimes things get a little wild, and having an extra set of eyes, ears and hands to keep things under control makes all the difference.
Everyone here at Valet Vet would like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas filled with love and laughter