A Christmas message from the Animals Team

With Christmas fast approaching there are plenty of things to think about and look forward to but don't forget your pets!

First of all - don't give pets as Christmas presents. The noise and commotion can create additional worry for pets who find themselves in unusual surroundings. What they really need is peace and quiet while settling into a new home and routine.

If the person getting the gift really wants a pet then give them accessories as their present (e.g. cage, hutch, bowls, leads) and then pick up your new family member after the activities have settled down. It's better if they choose the animal too and are fully involved in the decision making as they will be responsible for it - potentially for many years.

Consider getting a rescue animal after Christmas - there are thousands of cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, horses, snakes, lizards and so on in rescue. Often for no fault of their own and of all ages. Adopt, don't shop!

There are also lots of pet hazards around at Christmas: decorations and presents can pose a danger to inquisitive animals, who may end up at the vet's after swallowing paper, ribbon or bows, or getting their paws on harmful food such as chocolate or raisins.

With existing animals the festivities can still be stressful: lots of visitors, changes to routines, parties, people drinking and of course additional worries such as fireworks can change the behaviour of normally laid back pets. Give your pet a quiet area that can be its safe space and ensure it is left alone by everyone if it retreats to there.

Remember: Dogs and children must NEVER be left alone together.

If you have a dog, do ensure that its tag and microchip are correct in case it should escape.

Consider the risk of fireworks to all animals whether inside like dogs and cats or outside such as those in hutches or horses etc.

Have a safe and happy Christmas. If you would like any advice on getting a new pet or caring for your existing one you can speak to the Animals Team or email us at: dogwarden@swindon.gov.uk

#Pets #Christmas #Dog #Cat #Fireworks #Safety #Animals #Hazards

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