Winter is full of holiday celebrations, but nothing can spoil a good time like an emergency trip to the veterinary clinic. Follow these tips to help keep your pet healthy and happy as you enjoy your holiday season.
Prepare in Advance
Be sure that you know exactly who to contact in case of a veterinary emergency. Make sure you know whether or not your regular vet is available for emergency after-hours care and where to take your pet if not. Keep these numbers, as well as directions to the emergency clinic posted in an easily seen location in case of an emergency. Also, include the phone number to a poison control hotline.
One of the best things about the holiday season is all the festive meals and treats. Keep people food out of the reach of your pets. If you really want to share treats with your pets, purchase some specially made pet treats just for them. The following people foods are especially hazardous for pets:
Chocolate is an essential treat for the holidays but can be toxic to cats and dogs. While the exact toxicity can vary depending on the type of chocolate, amount of chocolate, and the size of your pet, the safest choice is to avoid giving your pet any chocolate at all.
Sweets and baked goods should also be kept away from pets. Not only are they too rich for pets, artificial sweeteners that can be found in many baked goods and candies have been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.
Turkey and turkey skin even in small amounts can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.
Yeast dough can cause several problems for pets, including dangerous bloating and painful gas.
Table scraps, including gravy and fats, should also be kept away from your pets. Many foods that are considered healthy for humans can be toxic to pets (such as onions, raisins, and grapes). During the holidays, the foods that humans crave tend to be on the richer side and can be especially fattening and difficult to digest for pets which can lead to pancreatitis.
Make sure your trash is secure to prevent your dog or cat from getting into it and grabbing scraps out of it.
Anyone with cats knows the hazard of a Christmas tree being tipped over when the cats go to try to climb the tree or play with the ornaments. You can secure your tree to the wall or ceiling using fishing line.
If you have a live tree, you do not want to add any commercial additives, aspirin, or sugar to the water that your pet might drink and become sick from.
Christmas ornaments may also present hazards to your pets. If your pet sniffs or plays with ornaments and knocks them down, they may break and cause injury when played with or chewed on. Keep any chewable ornaments up as high as possible or hang from another spot in your home where your pets can’t reach them.
Tinsel may also be tempting for playful pets. Consuming tinsel can cause intestinal blockages which may require surgery to remove. Avoid decorating with tinsel or hang it high out of the reach of pets.
Electric cords and lights may cause burns when chewed on. Secure cords out of the way or cover with cord protectors. Always unplug lights and electric decorations whenever you leave the house.
There are numerous live plants that are toxic to pets when ingested. Mistletoe, pine, and holly are all festive plants that are dangerous when chewed. Avoid having live versions of these plants in your home.
The flickering of a candle flame can entice even the most cautious kitty. Never leave a lit candle alone with a cat in order to prevent it from being knocked over and starting a fire.
Potpourris is almost always toxic when ingested. Any potpourris should be removed from the home to avoid causing damage to your pet’s mouth, intestines, eyes, and skin.