News from AMTRA

Keeping the routine key for pets at Christmas

It is that one time of year when nearly all routine goes out of the window, but the family member that won’t be expecting change over the Christmas and New Year festivities, will be your companion animal, pet or horse.

To avoid causing distress to pets, and reduce risks of illness and injury, animal medicines advisors are providing a few handy tips to help you and your companion enjoy a stress-free Christmas.

We are all rushing around at the last minute, then visiting friends and family, cramming everything into the few days we have away from normal working lives. While we may even forget what day it is, our cats, dogs and horses won’t.

While there will likely be disruption as we have more visitors during the festive period, or perhaps we are away for a few days, it is important to try and keep as normal a routine as possible for our pets.

AMTRA, the regulatory body for animal medicines advisors, known professionally as SQPs, are warning of the risks of disruption to routine, as well as other hazards that could cause problems during this time of year.

“Dogs, cats and horses can all be upset by changes to routine, such as different feeding patterns and times, or reduced exercise and attention time,” explains Sharon Groves, pet owner and SQP representative on the AMTRA council.

Changes of routine to horses can also present a colic risk.

“There are a number of hazards around the house, so be vigilant. Cats see Christmas trees as an excellent climbing frame, which bring obvious risks of injury and fire hazards,” adds Sharon.

“Chocolates lying around, and other festive items including flowers and plants can be poisonous to your pets, so try and keep out of their reach.”

Sharon provides the following top tips to reduce stress and the dangers of sickness or injury:

Try and keep a steady routine. Keep feeding times for pets and horses as close as possible to normal.

Work together with your friends, try and split the chores on the yard for your horses.

Give your pet a nice present, but keep it animal friendly. There is plenty of choice!

Include your pets. You may have lots of visitors, but don’t forget to give attention to your animals.

Try and keep your tree in a safe location, and don’t move your pet from their usual favourite spot, it can cause anxiety.

Try and keep parcels, plants and particularly chocolates away from the easy reach of investigating dogs.

Follow these tips and enjoy a wonderful Christmas and New Year with all of your family!