How to give your family pet a safe and happy holiday

Photo by Jairo Alzate

Photo by Jairo Alzate

The sun is shining, school is almost over for another year and the festive season approaches! That means a lot of families are considering holidays and gifts. Take it from an animal hospital- that also means the family pet is a hot Christmas topic. No matter if you’re tossing up a pet for Christmas or you’re thinking about what to get the pets you already have, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s the Fox Valley Animal Hospital guide to giving your pets a safe and happy holiday

To pet or not to pet, that is the question

Family pets make ideal gifts for the kids. They teach responsibility and compassion for another creature while giving love in return. But the decision to take on a family pet is not one that should be made lightly.

An unfortunate side effect of Christmas is an increase of unwanted puppies, kittens and pocket pets finding their way to shelters.

That’s why it’s important to make sure your family is at the right stage of life to handle a new pet.

Check out our blog on choosing the right pet for your family as your first step.

Want to take a deeper dive into our new pet shortlist?

Take a gander at our puppy training tips and what it’s like to bring home a new puppy. And choose the right dog for your family.

Read up on what it takes to look after a rabbit and why rabbits are not just for Easter (or Christmas).

Spend some time with a kitten’s first day home and understand why we encourage cat adoption and rehoming.

Finally, you’ll need to think about pet proofing your home or apartment.

Still got questions? Call Fox Valley Animal Hospital to talk about your ideas for a new family pet on (02) 9489 4805. We can help with advice and asking the right questions to help find the right pet for your family’s lifestyle.

Gifts your family pet will love

Looking for the right Christmas gift for the pet who has everything? Last year’s guide to Christmas gifts for pets has some great ideas.

This year, we’re stocking hand-made collars from Africa. These beautifully designed collars are made by the Masai Tribe using sustainable materials with all the profits going back into the community. Not only do they make great Christmas gifts, they are really unique.

Never under estimate the appeal of a great experience for your pet, too. Pets aren’t much into material things, but if you want to treat your pet to a happy Christmas and New Year, consider:

  • Shedding that extra fur at the Pooch Parlour so they not only look fabulous, they feel great as well
  • Checking them into doggy daycare. Nothing like meeting new furry friends to make your dog happy
  • Choose quality pet toys over the cheaper variety. Nothing says “I love you” to your cat or dog then a pet toy that not only lasts, it doesn’t get stuck in their throat or make them ill. Thankfully, we stock a great range of pet toys at Fox Valley Animal Hospital- drop in and check them out!

Travelling with your family pets

Enjoy your holiday by making sure you take the right precautions pet-wise these holidays.

Here’s your pre-holiday travel checklist of the pet variety:

  • Double check your pet is welcome at your chosen holiday stay. And that it matches what they enjoy at home (i.e. inside dogs as inside dogs etc)
  • Check the details on your pet’s ID disc and their microchip so that if they do get lost, you have a better chance of finding them
  • Make sure your dog’s flea and tick prevention and your cat’s flea medication and feline tick prevention is up to date
  • Always travel with your dog using an approved car harness
  • Place your cat in a suitable cat carrier
  • Pack a container of your pet’s regular food with you to avoid stomach upsets or feeding them low quality pet food over the holidays
  • Take their bed, water and food bowls with you so they know what to look for
  • Do your research before you travel. Find out the details of the local vet clinic at your holiday destination so if you do need them, you’re prepared
  • Make sure you have any medications your pet may need in a handy kit.We recommend travel sickness tablets, shades and sun screens for the car window and any regular medications as a must. Carrying a bandage in case of cuts when bush-walking or on oyster prone beaches are also advised

On arrival, make sure you:

  • Check the place for any holes in the fence, hiding places or odd spaces your pet could get stuck or wander through
  • Spend time with your pet in the new surroundings, inside and out, so they don’t get scared or overwhelmed
  • Set their bed, water and food bowl up in the same approximate area as home
  • Show your pet where the appropriate place to toilet is
  • Research the local pet friendly beaches, parks and cafes before you turn up with your dog in tow
  • Check the history of a dog designated beach for any likely causes of injury or illness. We recommend checking the water depth and clearance from trees and rocks as well as Googling for any reports of shark activity. Asking the place you are staying for any tips is also a great place to start

Boarding, pet sitting and other holiday arrangements

animal hospital holiday tipsIf your family pet won’t be accompanying you on holidays, always make sure you make suitable arrangements for them. Don’t leave your pets at home by themselves as the risk of injury, escape and depression is high.

If your pet is left unattended, you may also get reported to the local council and/or RSPCA. This could end in a serious fine, permanent impounding of your pet – or worse. It isn’t worth the risk.

Check out our guide to pet boarding. Take advantage of our own vet Katie’s cat boarding service. And ask for advice and contacts from our vet nurses, some of whom pet sit as a side gig.

Always make sure your family pet’s vaccinations are up to date before choosing a sitter or boarding kennel.

If you are unsure, please give the animal hospital a call on (02) 9489 4805 to check your records and/or arrange for a booster.

Common Christmas mishaps seen at our animal hospital

At Fox Valley Animal Hospital, we see some common occurrences around the Christmas holiday period. Most of them are easily avoided. These include:

  • Family pets needing surgery to remove badly made pet toys
  • Heatstroke from pets being left without shade and/or water on hot days
  • Heatstroke from pets being left in cars unattended (NEVER do this!)
  • Increased tick activity and pets not adequately covered
  • Snake bites from family pets taking on wildlife in the area
  • Lost pets who find themselves disorientated in new holiday settings or after the annual NYE fireworks
  • Pets who eat sweets, chocolates, fruit cakes and candies that are presents under the Christmas tree
  • Pet owners giving human food that is dangerous for your pet. Luckily Vet Nurse Hayley is putting together a guide to help you avoid this problem
  • Unrestrained pets falling out of car windows or sustaining injuries around during car travel
  • Dogs eating bluebottles, puffer fish and other sea creatures during beach trips and ending up poisoned as a result

Your family pet will do some pretty silly things at times. Including eating the wrong stuff and getting into the wrong places. Sometimes, they lack the foresight to understand the potential danger lies ahead. That’s why it’s up to you to lead the way and keep their furry, finned or feathered nose out of trouble.

Fox Valley Animal Hospital holiday season opening hours

To give the team of Fox Valley Animal Hospital some much needed down time, we’ll be closed on the following dates:

Christmas Eve: 9am-2pm

Christmas Day: Closed

Boxing Day: Closed

Sunday 27th December: Closed

Monday 28th December: Closed

Tuesday and Wednesday: 8am-6pm

New Years Eve: 9am-2pm

New Years Day: Closed

Then normal hours will resume in the NY except for Australia Day (Tuesday 26th January). We’re closed for Australia Day.

If you need help or have an emergency during these times, please contact SASH on (02) 9889 0289.

SASH is open 24/7.
Level 1, 1 Richardson Place, North Ryde.

Want more tips on how to give your family pet a holiday to remember?

Check out Hayley’s upcoming what not to eat and Christmas dangers holiday guide. Stay tuned for all our tips and ideas on Facebook and Twitter. Look out for the silly and the sentimental behind the scenes photos of Fox Valley Animal Hospital on Instagram.

And if you have any questions or queries, by all means give us a call on (02) 9489 4805.

About the Author
Owner and Vet Alex Brittan, Vet Katie Syms and the team of Fox Valley Animal Hospital pride themselves on quality service. Fox Valley Animal Hospital is the one you choose for your family pet when the care your animal receives really matters.