Well the holiday season is well under way and as we prepare our homes for family and other guests we must remember to keep things safe for our furry residents as well. The holidays are an exciting time with celebrations galore, breaks from school and work, decorating and gift-giving. Our pets feel that excitement and energy from us, they notice the smells of baked goods, the giant tree (what? there’s a tree in the house!?), the decorations on the tree and the packages under the tree! The excitement can make them curious, make them want to investigate these new things and new smells some of which could be dangerous for them. Here are a few things to keep in mind over the holidays to keep our pets safe in our homes:
- holiday ornaments, gift wrapping and tinsel can look like bright, shiny toys to our pets so ensure they are unreachable and up high on the tree or the tree somehow blocked with a baby gate when you can’t supervise your pets near the tree
- holiday plants such as lilies, holly, mistletoe and pointsettias can be toxic to pets
- alcohol should be supervised and kept away from pets as well as any baked goods containing alcohol
- holiday foods such as chocolate, baked goods and fruitcakes with grapes and raisins, sugarless gums and candies containing xylitol can all be toxic to pets
- leftovers and table scraps can be fatty and cause pancreatitis as well as the risk of cooked bones can splinter and cause intestinal damage
It is a good idea to know when your regular veterinarian is open over the holidays and to have a back up plan for when they are closed. It wouldn’t hurt to find out where your nearest Emergency Vet is and what their hours are, even if you don’t need them for your own pet a family member or guest visiting with their pet might! Another good resource is the Pet Poison Hotline. They can advise you in advance based on what you are able to report to them if your pet should be rushed to an Emergency Vet in the case of an incident. That number is 855-764-7661. There is a fee and you will be given a case reference # to take to the vet if they feel your pet needs immediate veterinary care.
Even once the holidays are over there are a few extra things we need to be careful around with our pets over the remainder of the winter. Some things to remember for winter: keep antifreeze up high and away from where pets can get it, beware of what ice melters/salt you are using, checking vehicles for cats sleeping in the engine space or wheel wells to keep warm, get your dog a coat and/or boots for extreme cold days. Our pets still need to get out and get exercise but in the cases of extreme cold I’m sure they’d be quite happy to potty in the yard and spend some time with you indoors.
The better prepared you are the easier the holidays will be for all! Merry Christmas from me and my fur family to you and yours!