This may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be some of the most dangerous to our beloved dogs and cats. From deliciously rich holiday treats to enticingly shiny decorations, the holidays bring plenty of risks and temptations for our pets. Even the most vigilant owners can become distracted with the extra responsibilities and additional people coming and going during this season.
Even though we love seeing your pets don’t make an emergency visit to the veterinarian part of your holiday festivities. Follow our advice below to help keep your pets safe this holiday season.
Feasts are typical during the holidays, with them numerous friends or family inundate our homes and not all of them may be pet wise. Feeding rich holiday foods to our pets can very quickly lead to a trip to the hospital. Fatty foods lead to pancreatitis, a painful and potentially life-threatening condition. Educating visitors about the detrimental health issues that feeding table scraps can cause may help minimize this risk. Furthermore, guests may feel that giving our pets leftover bones is not harmful but this is not the case. Apart from being a choking hazard, bones can shatter or splinter and perforate the intestines or cause intestinal blockage.
If you’re like me, then a Christmas tree is an integral part of the holidays, but they can be a danger to our furry little friends. Mischievous cats love playing in and around Christmas trees and this brings up a couple of issues. Firstly, these trees are only designed to carry the weight of lightweight ornaments and not little old kitty. Securing Christmas trees to the ceiling using a fishing line can prevent it and kitty from crashing down. Additionally, Christmas trees are decorated with fragile ornaments, tinsel and other objects that are prime candidates for causing lacerations or foreign bodies. Creating a moat of foil around the base can deter cats from climbing the tree in the first place.
Holiday plants, milestone, lilies, amaryllis and holly, are hidden dangers that we may not commonly think of. These plants may get you in the holiday spirits but they can be toxic to pets. If you suspect that your animal has ingested a poisonous plant, call your local veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Pet Poison Control Hotline.
A bountiful Christmas tree is always a pleasant sight. It’s important to be mindful of what is placed underneath it though. Just because wrapping paper keeps presents a mystery to us, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will to our pets. Cats and dogs have very keen sense of smell. Depending on the breed, their sense of smell is 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive to ours. Therefore, they are quite adept at seeking out that decadent box of chocolates. Chocolate ingestion is toxic to both dogs and cats. If you suspect that your pet has ingested chocolate, call your local veterinarian immediately.
Do you have a sister-in-law that is difficult to handle? An aunt that is hard to listen to after a couple of wobbly-pops? There are families that fight like cats and dogs, so is it any surprise that forcing pets to interact together can also be a contentious experience? Take caution when introducing new pets to each other. Consider separating pets in closed off rooms or leaving them at home altogether.
Preparedness is the key to a successful holiday season. Understanding the risks that come with the festivities is the first step. Remember to be conscious of friends, family, loved-ones as well as our furry little friends. From all of us at Town and Country Animal Hospital, we wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!