Whilst the summer holidays can be a wonderful time for us and our four-legged family members, there are a few seasonal hazards to avoid in order to keep your pet feeling merry too! Here are the seven rules for a safe and happy festive season for your pet.

1. Avoid dangerous foods

Keep these potentially dangerous or toxic seasonal foods away from your pet:

  • Cooked bones
  • Grape and raisins
  • Fatty foods, e.g. crackling, ham or turkey skin
  • Chocolate, coffee beans or cocoa
  • Onions and garlic, e.g. turkey stuffing
  • Xylitol sweetener
  • Macadamia nuts

2. Take care in the heat

Avoid exercising your dog in the heat of the day, and take particular care with dogs at higher risk of overheating, such as overweight pets, thickly-coated pets, or brachycephalic (short-faced) pets.

If your pet is outdoors on a hot day, ensure they always have access to shade and cool water. And remember, never leave your dog in the car unless the air-conditioning is on.

3. Keep your pet feeling chilled with guests

Even a friendly dog or cat may feel a little overwhelmed if your house is suddenly teeming with human guests! Keep a close eye on your pet’s body language to ensure that they’re not looking nervous (check out this video about subtle nervous dog body language), and always supervise them with children.

Provide your pet with access to a comfortable secluded area that they can retreat to for some quiet time.

4. Be on point with parasite prevention

If you live in, or will be travelling to, a known tick area with your pet, ensure they are up-to-date with veterinary-strength tick prevention.

Ask our team for personalised advice on the most effective and safe tick prevention options for your pet.

5. Offer your pet fireworks TLC

It’s recommended to keep all pets safely indoors on New Year’s Eve, but particularly those who are anxious about loud noises. Offer them a snug “den” to hide in (e.g. a crate partially covered with a blanket), and keep windows closed and covered. Try leaving the TV on at a moderate volume to help mask fireworks sounds, and offer your pet calm reassurance.

If your pet becomes panicked with loud noises, it’s best to speak to our vets in advance about the option of temporary calming medications for them.

6. Keep good control of your dog when out and about

If you’ll be going out and about with your pet, remember that it’s a requirement to keep your dog on a leash in public areas, unless it’s a designated leash-free zone. Even if your pet is friendly, not every other person or pet wants to meet them!

7. Know and avoid these toxic plants

Checking out this compilation of common toxic plants found in Australia will help you to recognise any problem plants in your garden or on your dog-walking route. However, if you are uncertain about other plants in your garden, you can try searching for them on this (US-based) poisons database.

If you think your pet may have consumed a toxic plant, we’d advise contacting our team or the Animal Poisons Hotline for urgent advice.


Lastly, the informal eighth rule of the festive season? Don’t forget to give your pet the best present of all: lots of cuddles and quality time with you!

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