How to include your pets in the Christmas celebrations

We love them like family and with our tips you can keep your favourite pet happy and healthy throughout the holiday season. 

Our furry, feathered and feline friends bring us so much joy throughout the year, so why not include yours in the holiday festivities this Christmas?

…It will also make up for the inevitable ‘pet holiday photo’ where you make them wear reindeer antlers and they just know everyone on Facebook is laughing at them.

Here’s how to get your favourite pet in on the Yuletide cheer.

Safety first

When the holidays roll around, it’s time to put the tree up and decorate your home. For those of us with pets it’s important to set up your home safely so you can enjoy your Christmas without any unhappy accidents. 
 
This includes:
 
- Securing power cords for lights to ensure they can’t be accessed and/or chewed.
 
- Placing your tree in a low traffic area and, if required, tethering it so it can’t be knocked over.
 
- Placing breakable decorations up high where they can’t be reached.
 
- Ensuring any presents containing food are kept out of reach – including candy in Santa stockings.
 
Pop a present under the tree

Let your treasured pet know how much you mean to them by choosing a special gift for them at Christmas. 
 
Families with children can get the kids involved by letting them research and choose the present for their furry or feathered family member. 
 
It doesn’t need to be big or expensive – a fun squeaky toy, a colourful collar, or a comfy new bed would make any Fido or feline full with holiday joy!
 
Bake some ‘pet friendly’ holiday treats

From dog friendly gingerbread, to yummy holiday cookies, there are loads of easy, healthy pet friendly Christmas recipes available online. 
 
Making them as a family is a great way to enjoy a holiday activity without having the inevitable sugar crash that comes at the end of regular baking! Win-win!
 
Dog licking a plate of gingerbread men
Know your naughty and nice foods 

While the holidays can be a fun time to let your furry friends snack on yummy leftovers from Christmas dinner, it’s good to know what foods are safe for them to chow down on and harmful foods that should be avoided.
 
- Safe holiday foods include: Cranberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, boneless white meat like chicken or turkey.
 
- ‘Naughty’ holiday foods include: Cooked bones, sugar, chocolate, nutmeg, alcohol, raisins and dried fruits, onions, garlic and gravy.
 
It’s also handy to let any holiday guests know not to feed your pet. Visitors may not be aware what foods are safe, and after a long day of being fed tid-bits from Uncle Gary your pet could end up with a sore belly!
 
Have a designated ‘safe space’ 

For some pets, the hustle and bustle of the holidays can be too much. Especially for families that have a lot of out of town visitors, or curious, small children – having a safe, quiet space where your pet can retreat to is a must. 
 
A cosy bed in the laundry or master bedroom gives your pet a place to recharge and get away from it all. And yes, you’re allowed to join them if you need a breather too! 
 
Don’t forget walks and playtime

During the silly season, it can be easy to get caught up with the sheer busyness of it all. 
 
A short walk around the neighbourhood every day, a quick game of fetch or indoor playtime for cats will not only give your pets an energy outlet, it’ll give you some much needed downtime as well.
 
Prepare in advance

If you’re planning on going away or being absent for long periods of time, remember your pet doesn’t know it’s Christmas. They will miss you! 
 
Arrange for a pet sitter to come to your house, or find a reputable boarding facility to care for your cat or dog while you’re away. Always make sure you start preparations well in advance as places can book up fast. 
 
Don’t forget to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are all up to date too as they’ll need them to stay at a cattery or kennel.
 
Remember past pets with love

For many families, the loss of a much-loved pet is more noticeable at Christmas. To treasure their memory, consider choosing a Christmas ornament in their honour and hanging it on the tree in pride of place. 
 
Alternatively consider making a donation to your favourite animal shelter or charity on Christmas Day in your pet’s name.
 
Happy Howl-idays!

Bupa pet insurance for dogs

Bupa Pet Insurance is general insurance issued by the insurer The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (ACN 090 584 473; AFSL 241436) (Hollard), is promoted by Bupa HI Pty Ltd (ACN 000 057 590; AR 354269) (Bupa) and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (ACN 075 949 923; AFSL 420183 (PetSure). Bupa acts as an authorised representative of PetSure. Any advice provided is general only, has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and may not be right for you. Consequently, before acting on this information, you should consider the appropriateness of this information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain and consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)  in deciding whether to acquire or continue to hold, Bupa Pet Insurance.
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