Christmas is just around the corner, bringing with it our annual chance to spend time with our family and friends – including our furry pals.
As you dive into the festive season, it’s a great opportunity to keep animal welfare front of mind when it comes to what you serve for Christmas lunch and how you celebrate with your pets.
We’ve put together a list of five easy ways to add animal welfare to your Christmas spirit.
1. Make higher welfare food the centrepiece of your Christmas lunch
If meat, eggs or fish are ingredients in your Christmas lunch this year, make sure they’re sourced from farms that prioritise animal welfare by choosing RSPCA Approved.
We know that shopping at this time of the year is chaotic enough, without also having to wade through the confusing range of product labels claiming higher welfare standards. By choosing RSPCA Approved, you can rest assured that the product you’re purchasing has been farmed with animal welfare in mind, and farms undergo regular assessments to ensure that the RSPCA’s detailed animal welfare standards are being met.
RSPCA Approved products - including ham, turkey and salmon - are available in major retailers as well as many independents and butchers. For more about the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, including RSPCA Approved brands and the RSPCA’s standards visit rspcaapproved.org.au
2. Thinking of getting a puppy for Christmas? Read this first.
There’s no doubt that Christmas is a popular time for introducing a new pet to the family – but it’s important to make sure that the decision isn’t taken lightly. Puppies and dogs can be a wonderful addition to your life, but they do require a lot of consistent attention and care, and it’s very important that you choose the right individual animal to suit your family make-up and lifestyle.
The RSPCA has a fantastic tool to help you make an informed and responsible decision when it comes to a new pet – the Smart Puppy and Dog Buyers Guide has lots of useful information, including things to consider before making the leap, choosing the right breed of dog, and where to get your dog from.
Doing your research now means you can relax and have a merry Christmas with your new friend, knowing you’ve made a responsible decision.
3. Keep those Christmas decorations out of your pet’s reach
Decorating at Christmas is a great source of fun for the whole family – although it’s best to be sure your dog or cat isn’t able to have too much fun. Tinsel and Christmas tree ornaments can be mistaken for exciting new toys by dogs and cats, and if they get their paws on them they could end up getting hurt.
Glass ornaments can break in your pet’s mouth, causing distress and injury, and tinsel can be a choking hazard. It’s safest to keep risky ornaments high enough to be out of your pet’s reach, and to keep an eye on their interaction with the Christmas tree.
4. Make a donation and be a Guardian Angel for animals this Christmas
Do you have an animal lover in your family? Why not make a donation in their name to your local RSPCA, as a very special Christmas gift?
Each year, RSPCAs across Australia host the Guardian Angels appeal, asking compassionate Australian to help support animals in need. All donations go directly towards animal welfare, including caring for animals in RSPCA shelters and helping to fund RSPCA Inspectorates to investigate animal cruelty cases.
You can make a donation in a loved one’s name, and send them a very cute e-card online.
5. Think twice before putting your pet in a festive costume
We know how tempting it is to get your pet into the holiday spirit by finding them a festive costume for the occasion – but it’s really important to remember that costumes aren’t necessarily as comfortable for your pet as they might look.
There are a few key things to look out for when it comes to costumes for pets:
- Is the costume going to cause your pet to overheat?
- Can your pet still exhibit all of their natural behaviours while in the costume (e.g. is their tail free? Are their ears being held down? Can they walk and run easily?)
- Is there a risk of your pet getting tangled in the costume, or swallowing any loose elements?
Most importantly, if your pet appears stressed, looks uncomfortable, or is reluctant to get dressed up, it’s best to put the costume away and find other ways for them to engage in your festivities. You can find out more on our blog.
From all of us at RSPCA Australia, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!