By Jessica Neal, Nutrition Center Manager, Freely Pet
The holidays are a time for celebration, decorations, big meals, and temptation galore. This is true not just for humans but for our four-legged family members too.
As you plan this holiday season, the Freely Nutrition Center is here for you with important tips on keeping your pets safe, happy, and healthy.
What kind of plans should I make for my pets during the holidays?
This holiday season is likely to look a bit different for everyone this year. When making your plans, be sure to include your favorite furry family member!
If you are staying home this year, plan to include your pets in the celebrations. This may mean adjusting the celebration to stick to your pet’s schedule but having them near will bring you all closer together.
This is also a great time to check the hours of operation for important contacts, like your vet. It’s nice to have some extra peace of mind knowing your pet’s care team is accessible when you already have so much on your plate (quite literally!).
We are planning a big holiday meal! Can my pet have some?
Holiday food is often decadent and full of flavor, so it’s tempting to sneak a little something to your furry family member under the table. But these tasty morsels can cause unintended tummy troubles (and add to their waistline).
Only 10% of your pet’s daily calories should come from treats, toppers, and extras. Yep, even during the holidays.
Don’t leave the turkey or pies unattended on the counter or you might come back to find them missing and your pet with a full belly.
Your pets are not always as trustworthy as they are cute in the face of temptation, especially with the added distractions around your home.
PS: Try one of Freely’s bone broths for a lower calorie alternative treat!
I’m not sure how my pet will handle having my family around. What can I do to help?
While the holidays are a time of celebration, they can be taxing on pets and humans alike!
Consider adding a stress-busting play session, especially with a brain-teasing toy, to release some pent-up physical and mental energy before the festivities begin.
Another great idea is to add a few extra training sessions on the morning of the big day.
Puppies will be ready for a nap after a brain workout with obedience lessons or trick training!
Both are great ways to bond with your pet.
Even with some stress reduction measures, your pet might still become overwhelmed. Ensure your pet has a quiet place to relax away from the excitement and keep an eye on doors that an escape artist might use to dart away from the action.
My pet is acting really different during the celebration. What is going on?
Many of us added new pets to our family in the past year. Even though they have settled in and become comfortable in our homes, the excitement of the holidays is a new, often overwhelming, experience for them.
Don’t worry if your normally outgoing pet becomes more reserved during the holiday season or your extra nervous pets are a bit shy around dinner time. With a little patience, they will be happy to spend the evening recouping with you after a long day of celebration.
I want my house to look festive but are the decorations dangerous for my pet?
Think twice about what you use to decorate your house and where you place holiday décor.
Pets observe with their mouths rather than their eyes, and sampling ribbon, tinsel, potpourri, or water in tree stands can be dangerous.
Although poinsettias are not quite as dangerous as previously believed, it is best to keep them, and other more poisonous plants like mistletoe and holly, away from pets.
And remember that other favorite people foods, such as chocolate and eggnog, can also be toxic treats.
Decorations, like trees and candles, can pose more physical dangers to your pet.
Your cat might find climbing your Christmas tree to be a fun activity, but it’s a party-pooper if it falls over and injures someone!
Candles and fireplaces should also be monitored to keep pets at a safe distance away.
We adopted a new pet this year! What can we do to really make them part of the family?
The holidays are a time of traditions and spending time together. Why not try making a new tradition with your pet?
An evening walk to check out the neighborhood decorations is a way to incorporate your puppy into the festivities.
A fort-building contest with spare boxes will give your kitty a place to play and a new experience to keep their minds busy.
These can become cherished activities, and you and your pet can look forward to them each year!
Still have questions? The Freely Nutrition Center has answers!
The Freely Nutrition Center wants to help you find the right food for your cat or dog and answer any questions you have about your pet’s diet and nutritional needs. Simply call (833-918-1236), email ([email protected]) or live chat (freelypet.com) with their experts.
And as a loyal guest of Best Friends Pet Hotel, when you contact them this Holiday season, they’ll send you a FREE small bag of Freely kibble! Just mention this blog post during your free consultation.
About the Author:
Jessica Neal is the Nutrition Center Manager at Freely Pet. She has a Master’s Degree in Animal Science with an emphasis in Genomics and Bioinformatics. She’s also a devoted pet parent to Atlas, her outgoing, sweet, and silly dog, Peabody, her loveable rescue cat, and Divine, her beautiful, hardworking quarter horse. While Jessica has studied in several fields, her true passion is small animal nutrition, and she is excited to connect with pet parents like you to help you navigate your pet’s nutritional journey.