On the fifth day of Christmas

Christmas is coming…. very soon! It’s one of the most Joii-ful times of the year, and it should be for all family members, including the four-legged ones.

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Every winter, the vets at Joii receive lots of calls from worried pet owners about behavioural concerns with their furry friends. So we’ve made a handy article about how to prepare, look out for, and prevent stress for your four-legged companion. 

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Just like us humans, cats and dogs are sensitive creatures prone to stress and anxiety. Changes in their environment or routine, even small ones, can cause them to become stressed. This can lead to not only changes in their behaviour but also physical signs of illness. 

What can cause stress in cats and dogs at Christmas?

Christmas is a time when our routines tend to change due to being off on holiday, spending more time with our friends and family, and even due to extreme weather. These changes in routine can affect our pets more than you might be aware of.

Things that can cause stress in pets at Christmas include:

  • Pet owners being home more than normal due to time off work
  • More visitors in the home, including people your pet hasn’t met often. This includes new furry visitors too!
  • Changes in your pets routine, such as being fed or walked at different times than normal (If you can’t have a lie-in at Christmas, then when can you?!)
  • Fireworks and other loud noises (crackers snapping, music and excited children)
  • Extreme cold or snow leading to reduced physical activity, which can cause boredom

And many more…..

A common question that we get asked as vets at this time of year – do cats and dogs get more cuddly in the winter?

Yes, absolutely. Stress can affect pets in many different ways. Some become more cuddly, while others become more withdrawn and prefer to be on their own. Studies have shown that up to 40% of pet owners noticed changes in their dog’s mood over the holiday season.

christmas cat

What are the signs that my cat or dog is stressed?

Cats and dogs are very good at hiding being stressed; the signs may not always be obvious and can start all of a sudden or over a longer period of time. 

Signs of stress include behavioural and physical symptoms, such as:

  • Vocalising more
  • Going to the toilet in the house
  • Aggression or destructive behaviour
  • Hiding away, becoming more withdrawn – owners often report their pet looks “depressed”
  • Shaking or shivering
  • Eating or drinking less than normal
  • Overgrooming, licking and biting at areas of their skin

How to prevent stress in cats and dogs at Christmas time

  • Stick to their normal routine as much as possible. Feed them at the same time every day, keep dog walks regular, and avoid moving cat litter trays or food bowls to different areas. 
  • Provide a safe and cosy place with their favourite toy and blankets for them to escape to when you have visitors over (especially for cats!)
  • Use pheromone adapters in the house to help reduce anxiety
  • If you are planning a big car trip, make sure to get them used to car travel well in advance by building it up slowly. Bring their favourite toys and blankets. 
  • Avoid leaving your pet alone for long periods of time, especially if they are not used to it. 

Is your pet on medication? A lot of vet practices close for a few days over Christmas and New Year. Avoid stress for you and your pet by making sure you have enough medication to last over the whole festive season.  

fifth day of christmas

Joii can help if you’re not sure how to keep your pet safe at Christmas time

  • Experienced Joii vets are on-hand 24/7, 365 days a year
  • Download the app and call us anytime for support or advice if you think your cat or dog is stressed or is showing behaviour changes. 

We wish you all a relaxed and stress-free Christmas – from all your pet family friends at Joii!

Coming soon….on the sixth day of Christmas

Festive get-aways and family get-togethers- travelling with pets at Christmas.

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