Is Christmas fun for pets?

You can’t have failed to notice that the big day is just around the corner. All over the country there are lots of excited children (and adults), but do pets also enjoy the festivities? In this blog we will look at the things that actually may cause them some stress – things we might not necessarily think of!

Family and friends.

Is your home going to be busy with visitors? It wouldn’t be surprising as Christmas often brings family to your home – and it could be a stress trigger for your pet. Although your pet may know them very well, this time of year can be much busier with many more visits, potentially unsettling your furry friend. They may even bring their own pets with them if they are staying, so this being sprung on your pet can be quite surprising for them!

It’s always good to catch up with old friends, especially this time of year. But if your pet doesn’t know them and they are entering your pet’s territory, for example sitting on their sofa, or smelling of their own pet, then it also has potential to cause stress.

Consider using pheromone calming products such as Adaptil or Zenifel and Pet Remedy  – we can advise on these and other products to help the situation.


Many pets generally prefer a routine, and any changes to that routine can start off a bit of a stress response. Over the festive period there may be several changes to your pet’s routine, as mentioned before you may have family staying, their food times may change slightly, they may not get their walk as they usually do, or it may be at a different time. For a pet this can be very confusing, especially if a few of these changes happen at once. Try to stick as much as you can to a normal routine, feed them at the usual times and walk them when you normally do – or as close as you can to that time.

If you do have family staying, try to get them to interact with your pet as much as possible. Your pet will then see them not as the enemy, but somebody to give them more fuss! However, this might cause more stress for timid cats, for example, so this advice very much depends on your pet.

New things.

Moving on from different changes, there are bound to be a fair few new things appear at Christmas – presents! Whilst these might be exciting for the pet and curiosity may overtake them as they see what has been bought by Santa, large items can confuse them. If the space is made to put a new item where your dog or cat likes to sit, their sofa or favourite chair being moved – it can make them feel puzzled!

Try to keep new things to places where your pets rarely frequent – not always easy! It’s also worth remembering that small toys can often find themselves inside dogs. There are vets that have removed contents of toy boxes from dogs, so please be aware of where these interesting new items are left.

New Year.

Much of the time Christmas is such a large event that New Year is secondary in our thoughts. If we do think of it, it’s normally a worry that we are getting another year older! We must remember at the end of the festive period, comes New Year’s Eve – and fireworks! We know it only seems like yesterday was bonfire night, but traditionally there are just as many – if not more – fireworks let off to celebrate the New Year.

Have you prepared your pet for this? If you are going out, do you have someone pet sitting to keep an eye on them when the clock strikes midnight? Again, we can help with different products for firework fear, so please get in touch with us about this before the big night.

The festive period has to involve all pets as they are part of the family – so why should they miss out? With common sense and thinking of things from your pet’s point of view, you can make their Christmas and New Year period just as happy.

As always there will be emergency cover over the Christmas period when we are closed, should you need it – we hope you don’t!


All the staff at Animal Doctors would like to wish you and your pets a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for all your support in 2018 and we look forward to seeing you again in the New Year.