Whether you have one pet, or a home filled with four-legged critters, there are many things to consider during the holiday season to ensure their safety. You may be planning to decorate your house, prepare a big meal, or open your home to visitors. All of these situations warrant some additional planning on your part to help keep your pets safe.
Here are some tips to help your holiday season go smoothly by avoiding that emotionally wrenching, time-consuming, and costly trip to your local veterinarian.
Danger From Decorations
Many decorations can quickly become a threat to dogs and cats alike. Consider not only your pet’s personality and age but their accessibility to the decorations as well. Here are some questions to ask before making decisions about the placement of certain holiday decor:
- Is my pet curious?
- Is he likely to chew on random items?
- Does he tend to ingest foreign objects?
- Are my decorations toxic to animals?
- Am I placing my decorations out of my pet’s reach?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may need to reconsider using the decoration or simply change the location. Remember that puppies are especially curious, and most of them will chew on just about anything.
Many plants, especially seasonal ones like Poinsettias and Mistletoe, are toxic to animals. Other decorations such as ornaments, strings, ribbon, and tinsel can become lodged in your pet causing an obstruction in the bowel (also known as a “foreign body”).
These situations can lead to very serious complications - even death - and are very costly to treat. If you insist on having these things around and you know your pet likes to explore with his mouth, make sure he absolutely cannot get to them.
When it’s time to carve the turkey or slice the ham, there’s no doubt your fluffy companion will be by your side offering up a pitiful stare that is sure to tug at your heart strings. They have a way of making us feel as though we are committing a cardinal sin by not giving them their own place at the table. Unfortunately, what will be a fleeting moment of pleasure for them can quickly turn into hours, even days, of illness.
The Dietary Of Your Pets
The dietary needs of dogs differ greatly from our needs. Although certain dogs are more prone to having gastrointestinal problems than others (due to breed, obesity, and pre-existing health conditions), giving your canine friend too much fat can cause complications such as nausea, inappetence, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Occasionally, a more serious complication, such as pancreatitis, can result. Depending on the severity, your pet may require hospitalization with aggressive treatment.
If you feel as though you won’t be able to resist Fido’s begging, it’s best to leave him out of the room while preparing your meal. That way, you are less likely to succumb to the temptation of offering him scraps. All too often, what starts out as “one little bite” quickly turns into an entire plateful.
Read more: 7 Easy And Healthy Homemade Dog Treats
Your Relatives And Friends
If you’re expecting company to visit, whether it’s a large crowd or just a few relatives and friends, your pets can be exposed to a variety of potential problems. Again, you will need to gauge your pet’s needs based on personality and adjust according to your living space.
Some pets tend to become excited or stressed when visitors come over. It can get so bad that it affects their eating and sleeping habits. If this describes your furry friend, consider putting him in a crate in a quiet room or placing him at a boarding facility.
If boarding is not an option and you don’t own a crate, try to create a comfortable spot in a bathroom or guest room. Sometimes the simple act of removing your pet from the noise and crowd can ease their stress.
Danger From Young Children
One last thing to consider (and this is a problem that tends to get overlooked), young children absolutely love to give treats to pets. Make it very clear that little hands (and grown-up hands) are not to offer table food to your pet. Give those that wish an opportunity to offer milk bones or other suitable treats after the meal is finished. It’s a good idea to keep all pets away from the table while eating. This will eliminate the possibility of any scraps of food finding their way into your pet’s tummy.
Remember, the holidays are a time to celebrate - not spend time rushing your beloved pet to the veterinarian’s office for medical treatment.
Follow these simple recommendations to make sure you and your pet have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday. If for any reason you are concerned about the safety or health of your pet, contact your local veterinarian for professional medical advice.