Holidays are an exciting time of year for everyone, whether two or four-legged. Sometimes things can be a bit stressful and overwhelming for our pets from extra traffic in the house and holiday travel to tempting fatty foods that can prove dangerous. We’ve put together a list of some great tips for you to keep in mind while you’re spreading cheer this season to keep your pets safe and happy.
Human food may seem like the perfect treat, but don’t let those sad eyes wear you down – table scraps and fatty holiday foods can be dangerous for your pet.
Common tasty holiday morsels we humans love to see each year can be especially toxic to our furry, feathery, or scaled friends, including chocolate, baked goods with sweeteners, turkey and turkey skins, table scraps, and yeast dough. Small exotic pets can be especially susceptible as even a small bite could be deadly. Bones, turkey carcasses and cooking accessories like string ties and oven bags also pose a dangerous threat – keep pets away from these items and promptly take the trash out to avoid temptation.
Be cautious to keep food out of your pet’s reach and securely cover any delectable treats you leave out for the humans’ afternoon snacking. Kindly remind guests that foodstuffs are for their mouths only and to refrain from sharing with pets.
While the smell of holiday inspired scents and the twinkle of Christmas lights can give us humans the warm and fuzzy feelings, these can be tempting for our companions to get into. Keep the warm and fuzzies going with these tips for décor pet safety:
Christmas trees can seem like a jungle gym to our pets, especially those most curious creatures we call cats. From twinkling lights and tinsel to tree water additives and ornaments, a whole mess of these festive frills can be hazardous to pets. Using fishing line, secure your tree by tying it to the ceiling or a door frame, or if possible keep your tree in a room that can be closed. To deter cats, try building a tinfoil moat around the base of the tree (most dislike walking on it) or hanging lemon-scented car air fresheners.
Broken ornaments can be dangerous and cause injuries to pets if they step on or ingest pieces. Keep all ornaments out of your pet’s reach, especially homemade varieties made from salt dough or any food-based material that can be tempting for your furry friend to nibble on.
Turn off all electrical cords when you are not able to monitor the immediate area. If your pet chews on the cords, they run the risk of electrocuting themselves which can result in burns around the mouth or hair.
Plants bring a homey feel to any space, but often the common greenery associated with the holidays are toxic to our pets such as amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, holly, and poinsettias. Know what plants are toxic to your cat or dog and avoid having any in your home.
Sweet scents such as liquid or solid potpourri and candles can be dangerous and are tempting for the inquisitive minds of our pets. Some contain essential oils and cationic detergents that can be harmful to animals if they come in contact with them. Make sure to keep all these scent-heavy out of your pet’s reach and never leave a burning candle, liquid potpourri or wax warmers unattended.
The holiday hustle and bustle can be a stressful time for humans and animals alike. Keep spirits high and stress low by considering your pet’s safety and comfort this joyous season. Plan to host a holiday gathering with family and friends? Providing a safe space for Fido, Felix and their feathery friends to retreat to – and not be followed by guests – when they need some peace and quiet is essential.
Be watchful of the door when guests are coming and going to avoid a runaway scare. If necessary, keep your pet in a comfortable area you can close off or behind a gate to keep them away from the door. For added safety precautions, we strongly recommend microchipping all pets. It’s a simple, non-surgical procedure that allows your pet to be scanned for identification in the event their collar is missing. If your pet is already microchipped, make sure all contact information is up-to-date.
If you’re off to grandmother’s house this holiday season and bringing your pet along for the travels, make sure to have all the proper documentation – even if you’re driving. Many states have different requirements such as health certificates, vaccinations, or administration of medication. Whether flying internationally or driving interstate, brush up on what the specific animal health requirements for that area and coordinate the proper documentation with a visit to your veterinarian. In addition to necessary records, don’t forget to prepare a holiday travel bag for your pet, too. Bring their favorite toys, any medication, bedding, kennels/cages or supplies you may need while away.
If you decide to make other arrangements while you’re gone for the holidays, call your local boarding facility with plenty of notice. Holidays can be an extremely busy time of year and this will help ensure your pet a reserved spot as well as give you ample time to get in to your vet for any vaccination or certification updates needed.
We hope these tips will help keep your pets happy, healthy and safe this holiday season! Remember to always have on-hand your vet’s number or the number of a vet in the area you’ll be spending the holidays, and keep the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline (1-888-426-4435) handy. If you have any questions on how to keep your pet safe this jolly season or need to schedule an appointment for updated documentation, give our team a call today at 701.757.3500.