The holidays can be a busy time, full of celebrations, travel and plenty of shopping; yet, sometimes the festive hustle and bustle of the holidays can overshadow important pet healthcare routines. This holiday season, PetSmart ® reminds pet parents of the importance of prepping pets for the cold winter months and offers tips to keep pets safe during the holidays. “Pet parents do a wonderful job of keeping pets in mind during the holidays, but that means more than selecting the perfect toy, feeding bowl or sweater for a gift,” Dr. Robyn Jaynes, DVM, director of veterinary services for PetSmart. “Pet parents should remember that it’s just as important to continue to focus on supporting the pet’s overall well-being during this hectic time of the year.” Grooming Pets to be Christmas Picture-Perfect Keeping pets well-groomed is about more than just looking good for the family holiday photo – it’s about the pet’s health and well-being. Regular grooming is important for both dogs and cats and can help maintain the condition of your pet’s skin and coat.
- It’s the most wonderful time of year… for a bath. When bathing dogs at home, pet parents should brush dogs before and after the bath to prevent matting. Bathing dogs regularly will not only keep them smelling fresh, but keeps the skin clean and coat shiny.
- Wishing for a matte-free holiday. Cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves, but it’s important for pet parents to regularly brush cats to help stimulate circulation and remove loose fur as well as examine the skin closely for signs of fleas and ticks. The frequency of brushing depends on the type and length of coat, weather conditions and whether the pet is an indoor or outdoor cat.
- Deck the halls with tape and cord covers. Christmas decorations mean extra electrical cords, plugs and plenty of tempting new “chew toys.” Pet parents should take the extra time during decorating to tape down or cover cords to help prevent shocks, burns or more serious injuries.
- Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how anchored are your branches? Christmas trees are sure to attract a pet’s attention and should be secured to keep from toppling over if a pet should try to climb them, use them as a scratching post or simply bump into them. Since cats are inclined to eat tinsel and/or ribbons hanging from trees, these decorations should be placed high on the tree or not used at all.
- Bells are ringing, children singing... pets need a quiet place to retreat. During the holidays, pets may not understand why their usually quiet home is filled with people and noise. Pet parents should provide pets with a quiet place to retreat so they can choose whether to come out and visit or keep to themselves. Pets should also wear ID tags or have microchips because they can easily slip out of the house in all of the commotion.
- Over the river and through the woods... for families and pets on the go. Pet parents boarding pets during the holiday travel season should look for facilities that are clean and have a friendly, well-trained staff and strict health and safety policies. PetSmart offers pet parents a safe and easy solution with the PetSmart PetsHotel ®, a home away from home for dogs and cats, to give parents peace of mind when they have to leave their four-legged family members behind. For pet parents traveling with their pets, research can also be done in advance to find hotels that allow pets.
- Shop ‘til you drop...and dogs can stay and play. With longer shopping hours to buy gifts for everyone on your list, you may come home exhausted while your dog is full of energy. While pet parents dash from store-to-store, the family dog can do some dashing of his own at the local PetSmart Doggie Day Camp SM. Dogs can enjoy hours of supervised play and exercise with other dogs and the caring PetSmart staff, and pet parents can shop knowing their pet is in a safe, indoor environment burning off that extra energy.
- Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... aren't good for pets. Pet parents often think they're "treating" their pets with table scraps from their holiday meals. This “treat” can be harmful since dogs and cats do not have the same digestive systems or nutritional needs as people. Chocolate contains the heart stimulant theobromine, which, even in small quantities, can be toxic to dogs and cats. Other seasonal items such as mistletoe, holly berries and poinsettia plants can also be poisonous to pets, causing severe, upset stomachs. Consider using repellent sprays or a doggie gate to help keep pets away from harmful areas and objects.