3 things you can do to keep your pet safe on Australia Day

Bins, bones and bangs – Australia Day is an accident waiting to happen.

By Amber Manto
When you stick on your Aussie flag tattoos and fire up the barbie tomorrow, spare a thought for your dog or cat who can get themselves in plenty of mischief on Australia Day.
If you'd like to avoid vet bill shock (who wouldn't?), there's a few things you can do before tucking into those patriotic drinks that will ensure your fur child survives the holiday in one piece.

1. Ensure gates are doors are shut so your pet doesn’t wind up featured on a “missing” ad

Noisy celebrations and fireworks can cause your pet to go AWOL out of fear.
"It's not uncommon to have a dog or cat who is simply terrified of the loud bangs caused by fireworks," Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says.
If the celebrations are at your place this year she suggests "gates are clearly signed with a reminder to CLOSE THE GATE" so your pet doesn't become a runaway.
"Many dogs go missing during celebrations from guests not closing gates and doors correctly."

2. Create a safe zone for them to hang out

It's best to keep your pet indoors tomorrow, especially at night when the fireworks kick off.
Keep them in a room with their bed and food and shut all the windows and doors to block out the noise.
Even draw the blinds as the flickering light can be scary for both cats and dogs.
Also consider playing soothing music or leaving the TV on to drown out the bangs.
"Ensuring they are comfortable is very important to prevent anxiety and accidents."
If your dog is particularly frightened by fireworks, wearing them out beforehand with a good run or play session will, with any luck, help them snooze through it.

3. Keep human food out of reach

Party time = opportunity for your dog to eat something that's not good for them.
"Dogs are natural scavengers so ensure bins are securely closed, and don't leave garbage bags in areas that your pet has access too," Crighton advises.
"Cooked bones, skewers and leftovers can wreak havoc to your beloved dog."
As a rule of thumb, anything fatty or sugary is not good for their stomach. Particularly dangerous foods for dogs include:
  • Avocados
  • Raisins and sultanas
  • Cooked bones
  • Walnuts and macadamia nuts
  • Grapes
  • Mushrooms
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Onions (applicable to cats too)
Be on top of guests feeding your dog a cheeky bit of their snag too. If your sausages have seasoning on them, even a small bite can land them in the animal emergency room.
At the end of the day it all comes down to commonsense, so just keep them in mind when planning your party so you all survive the holiday unscathed.

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