Keep one eye on your four-legged friend when the mercury rises this Christmas.
Keep one eye on your four-legged friend when the mercury rises this Christmas. Inga Williams IS051212HOTDOG1

Keep your pet in mind when planning Christmas

WHAT plans have you made for your pets these Christmas holidays?

That's the question being posed to pet owners as the year ramps up to the busy and sweltering festival period.

"Changes in routines can be distressing for some beloved pets, with extra visitors and activities confusing or even frightening," Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said.

"Feeding routines can be thrown out because of Christmas gatherings, and families going on holidays can mean significant disruption or even distress for them."

Mr Furner implored pet owners to follow these tips from the RSPCA:

  • If your dog may be overwhelmed with lots of new people, give them time away from the action and offer a yummy chew or filled enrichment toy;
  • Arrange a safe or quiet area where your dog can wind down;
  • Assign an adult (not involved in supervising children) to be in charge of your dog if you can't be; and
  • Do not allow children to hug or kiss your dog.

RSPCA senior media advisor Michael Beatty said pet owners should always keep one eye on their four-legged friends - especially as the mercury starts to rise.

"If your dog licks their lips, shows the whites of their eyes or turns their head away when a child or adult is patting them, intervene immediately," Mr Beatty said.

"These are just a few signals dogs show when they are stressed.

"Dogs can show their distress at festive gatherings by trying to walk away or hide under furniture, freezing or becoming still with their mouths closed or growling."

A pet can also be a great idea for a present this Christmas, but the thoughtful gift deserves some serious consideration.

"A new family pet could make this Christmas one to remember and bring the family joy for many years to come," Mr Beatty said.

"Please don't buy un- de-sexed pets from pet shops, markets, newspapers or online and make certain the whole family is involved in the choosing of the pet.

"All animals need permanent, happy homes where their owners have made a decision to commit to that animal for the term of its natural life."

"In fact if people have decided to add a pet to the family, giving a shelter pet embodies the spirit of Christmas.

"We suggest people visit an RSPCA shelter and make a lasting difference, not only for this Christmas but all through the year."

And one last consideration when buying a pet: "Pets are for life, not just for Christmas."

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