As Christmas approaches, our animals can sense the excitement of the holiday season. We may feel a slight twinge of guilt thinking we have neglected them or not spent enough time with them this year. If you feel like this, why not turn Christmas into an opportunity to strengthen your relationship and prove to them how much they matter to you?
And why not take advantage of the festive period by being more attentive to their diet?
Here are some tips from our experts to spend a happy (and safe) holiday season with our animals:
– In winter, our pets tend to use more energy than in the summer months as they need to burn more calories to keep warm so they have higher nutritional needs. If your dog or cat likes to spend time outside in winter, the daily amount of food should be increased by 40% compared to the amount you feed them in the summer.
– If your animals mostly stay indoors and only go out occasionally in winter, the amount you feed them will only need to be increased by 5%.
– If your pet stays indoors, it does not need additional energy so its food ration must stay the same! We know that some dogs and cats can be very persistent when it comes to begging for extra food, so do be careful not to give in!
– If you leave a bowl of water outside, you must be extremely careful that the water does not freeze or get too cold, as this is not healthy for your pet. Position the bowl in an area that is sheltered from the elements. Check the water bowl and refresh regularly. You can even refill with warm water.
– During the holiday season, keep an eye out for loved ones feeding them from the table. We tend to want to spoil our animals with treats, but human food can be indigestible for them and will give them stomach upsets.
– Do not listen to those who ask you to lock up your animals, or worse, put them outside. There is no reason to inflict needless punishment on your animals. On the contrary, keep them with you… after all, it’s also Christmas for them!
– But of course as it’s Christmas, we want to spoil them just like we do with our other family members, so choose healthy treats specifically formulated for them so they won’t get indigestion!
– For dogs, which have a very developed sense of smell, you can mix one or two tablespoons of wet food in with their dog biscuits (kibble), this will make the meal more enjoyable for them, without risking complications the next day.
– For cats, you can organise a small treasure hunt by hiding treats around the house: this will stimulate their predatory instincts while providing them with a delicious snack!
– If you haven’t been paying attention to their diet, you can take advantage of this extra time spent at home to rectify this. Why not try our Alternative kibble (dry food) as well as our HFC wet food? Be prepared to see an improvement in their appearance and their mood!
– If, on the other hand, you are spending the holidays with friends who do not allow you to bring your animals, perhaps you should review your friendship… ;-). Joking aside, if we decide to leave our animals at home, we must make sure to act the same as we would when we go to work or go out without them. This will make your pets understand that there is nothing to worry about..
– Once the Christmas holidays are over, some people like to go hiking. If you take your dogs with you, do remember to pack a kit with items to protect them from the cold weather. Remember that dogs sweat through their paws and when sweat comes into contact with cold surfaces such as ice, it can damage their paws and pads so it may be a good idea to use “boots” specifically designed for this purpose. The first steps your dog takes in these booties may be uncertain but they will soon become used to them.
– Avoid dressing your animals up in uncomfortable costumes such as reindeer horns or Christmas clothes. Pet clothes, like coats, are a good idea for animals that feel the cold but make sure you choose the right size: if it is too tight, the dog will have trouble moving and cause irritation. If, on the other hand, the coat is too big, the air can pass inside and prevent the animal from warming up.
– When you take your dog out in the snow, avoid grooming them while out as their coat is their first protection against the cold. Small crystals of ice may form on the coat, these should not be pulled, but melted with a hair dryer and then combed out when you get back from the walk.
– Finally, find out about the physical peculiarities of your dog’s breed. If this is the first time your four-legged friend has seen the snow, you can expect to witness some strange and fun behaviours. Eating it, rolling in it, jumping like a rabbit, digging, disappearing in the snow etc. Enjoy this new experience together and create a magical memory this Christmas.