Holiday Safety for Your Pets

Holiday Safety for Your Pets

Pets bring joy into our homes and become part of the family.  During the holiday season it’s important to be mindful of them as we plan activities.  Understanding your pet’s nature will aide you to ensure they don’t get uneasy at holiday home events, fall ill by consuming foods not right for them, or cause an accident and get injured. It can be very upsetting if during an enjoyable party you have to leave guests while you rush your pet to the emergency room of the nearby vet hospital. Being pet aware as we plan can prevent such a disaster from happening. Sometimes things as simple as the decorations that cause cheer can also cause an accident. Guests with unfamiliar faces and can cause our dogs to bark a lot, which could be embarrassing. If you plan to travel for the holidays, make sure your pet and you are well prepared for the journey.  Here are some tips to consider before you jet off.

Sweets & Table Foods

At party time, you’ll want to keep food out of your pet's reach and ask your guests to do the same. Consider buying a few new toys and keeping your pets in a separate till guests leave the house and the table is cleared. Make sure all leftovers are safely in the refrigerator. Remember, foods that contain chocolate, xylitol, onions, grapes, or raisins are toxic for pets and can make them very sick. Fried chicken, ribs, hot dogs, and bacon are very rich in fats and can cause pancreatitis, a condition that can easily cause their death. Breeds such as Yorkshire Terriers and Miniature Schnauzers are more prone to pancreatitis. The best rule, avoid sharing holiday foods with your pet. If you want the dog to enjoy scraps off the table make sure they are low in calories, with low salt and low fat. Off the table, you can give your dogs fish, chicken, white rice, apples, carrots, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, and unsalted popcorn with little concern.

Dangerous Party Decor

Oh no, my beautiful Christmas tree!!! Pets can make your family Christmas tree tip and fall. If the pet gets injured, it could require a visit the nearby animal hospital for X-rays and treatment resulting in both leaving your party and an unexpected expense. Holly, lilies, and mistletoe are also dangerous for our furry friends. Pets get attracted to these and often ingest them. Mistletoe has been known to cause gastrointestinal and heart problems in dogs.  Your pet can get an upset stomach and vomit if it consumes the stagnant Christmas tree water. If it vomits, do not give it anything to eat for 12-24 hours. Give it only liquids. In cases where a dog gets diarrhea, continue to give it easily digestible bland foods for a few days. If you have cats, avoid lilies for holiday cheer. When cats eat lilies, they can contract kidney disease and even kidney failure. As a responsible pet owner, look for pet-safe bouquets or buy silk flowers or keep pets out of certain rooms until after the holidays. Lighted candles can burn pet fur and if tipped can start a fire, so do not leave the room without first putting out the candles. Ensure all wires are covered to prevent a lethal shock.

Stress from travel 

If you are traveling by car with your pets, they may develop car sickness. Some dogs that are not use to car travel may become anxious and bark. Some may howl or whine to seek attention. They may even vomit or urinate in the car, so it is a good idea to ensure your pet is accustomed to car travel before you hit the road to enjoy the holidays. Do hold back on water and food a few hours before travel time. Consult a vet and ask about meds for motion sickness. Dog calming products work very well for dogs traveling in cars or planes. These meds calm them and make them feel safe and secure.

Stress from guests in the house

Pets can feel upset with new faces in the house so introduce them to guests that are pet friendly and will pet them often and also play with them. Some dogs may jump when they see guests while others may howl and growl. You have to train the dog to greet guests with you at the door and reward them when they stay calm. If they are uneasy or shy put them in a room with their toys and some treats until the guests leave.

We trust these tips make you aware and give you some useful ideas.  Remember, your pet is part of the family and the holiday season is a joyous time for all!  Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!

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