CHRISTMAS may be the season to be jolly but it may not be such a good time for pets.
“Changes in routines can be distressing for some beloved pets, with extra visitors and activities confusing or even frightening,” said Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner.
“Feeding routines can be thrown out because of Christmas gatherings, and families going on holidays can mean significant disruption or even distress for them.”
Mr Furner urged families to heed the RSPCA’s advice for helping four-legged friends cope with the festive season.
- If your dog may be overwhelmed with lots of new people, give them time away from the action and offer a yummy chew or filled enrichment toy
- Arrange a safe or quiet area where your dog can wind down;
- Assign an adult (not involved in supervising children) to be in charge of your dog if you can’t be; and
- Do not allow children to hug or kiss your dog
- If your dog licks their lips, shows the whites of their eyes or turns their head away when a child or adult is patting them, intervene immediately. These are just a few signals dogs show when they are stressed.
Dogs can show their distress at festive gatherings by trying to walk away or hide under furniture, freezing or becoming still with their mouths closed or growling.
Mr Furner also urged families to plan carefully and communicate with each other when deciding to get a pet.
“Pets can be a wonderful addition to a home, but they should never be given as a surprise,” Mr Furner said.
“Pets are a big commitment. Pets are for life, not just for Christmas.”
Remember the RSPCA is a good first port of call for people planning to add a pet to their household.
Avoid buying un-de-sexed pets from pet shops, markets, newspapers or online and make certain the whole family is involved in the choosing of the pet
All animals need permanent, happy homes where their owners have made a decision to commit to that animal for the term of its natural life.