December 1, 2015
Festivities for Fido
If pets are part of your family, you will likely include them in many of your holiday celebrations. Just as you would take precautions to keep your other family members and friends safe, here are some tips for a safe festive season for pets:
Trees & Decoration
Any new decorations are bound to pique your pet’s curiousity. Secure trees to prevent pets from toppling them over and create a barricade around the water reservoir. The water may contain fertilizer and pine needles both of which are dangerous if ingested. Cords should be kept inaccessible to pets that like to chew things. Avoid the use of tinsel. Cats in particular like to play with it and sometimes ingest it leading to an unwanted trip to the vet’s office.
Some common holiday plants such as holly, mistletoe, amaryllis, and ornamental pepper may cause gastrointestinal and/or cardiovascular problems if eaten so keep them out of reach or use artificial plants.
Human food is too rich for pets and sweets, particularly chocolate, can be toxic to animals. Avoid giving table scraps to pets and never give them bones from the table as they could splinter. Try to keep their diet as close to routine as possible.
Including your pet in your gift-giving tradition is a nice gesture but ensure that their presents are pet-appropriate. Look for indestructible toys and treats that are designed for pets. Long stringy toys are enticing to cats but can cause issues if eaten.
The Great Outdoors
With visitors coming and going throughout the season, there is more opportunity for your pet to slip outside without your knowledge. Be sure your pet is outfitted with current ID tags. Also, it’s a cold season. Bring pets inside when the temperature drops.
If your family travels over the holidays and you take your pet with you, check to see what requirements (ex. vaccinations) are necessary well before you head out the door. There may be a quarantine period if travelling by air or across boarders. Vaccinations will need to be up to date if you decide to board your pet while away.
Entertaining over the holidays is generally a given. However, the noise and excitement may be overwhelming for pets. They may try to withdraw or become uncharacteristically aggressive. Give your pet a quiet retreat. New Year’s fireworks can be particularly frightening for pets. Keep them in an escape-proof area and provide them with some comforting tummy rubs.
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