Giving Pets Healthy and Happy Holidays
The holidays are filled with lots of cheer from festive decorations, well-fed guests, and in our area, usually some snow, too! These are some of the best parts of the holiday, but some of the things we enjoy the most are harmful to our pets. Keeping pets safe is simple enough with our animal hospital’s holiday pet safety tips!
Staying Away from the Decorations
Both cats and dogs are bound to be interested in the twinkling holiday decorations. Yet their curiosity sometimes isn’t harmless, especially when it involves fragile ornaments, wobbly trees, and toxic plants. Help your pet avoid these decorative dangers with these tips:
- Don’t allow them near the tree. Yet, if you do, make sure it is secured either by anchoring it to the floor or tying it to the ceiling with fishing line.
- Put fragile ornaments way out of reach. Anything that can be easily smashed by a swatting paw should be set well above your pet’s reach. A shattered ornament can cause damage to paws and even mouths and the gastrointestinal tract if ingested.
- Steer clear of Tinsel Town. It’s shiny. It dangles. It is a cat’s dream toy. However, the delicate strings can easily be broken when bit and ingested, causing intestinal upset and even a blockage which could require surgery. Use other means for glittering up your tree!
- Boughs of holly belong up high. Holly, if eaten, can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea. Similarly, mistletoe causes serious intestinal upset as well as cardiovascular problems. Lilies can result in kidney failure in cats. Many festive plants are toxic to pets. Choose artificial alternatives or do your research to build a pet-friendly bouquet.
Food Fit for a King (Not Your Pet)
The rich, scrumptious foods of the holidays are a treat for your human family, but for your furry friends, they can cause a lot of problems. Your pet’s diet is quite a bit different from your own for good reason! Here are some foods to avoid sharing this holiday season:
- Fatty meats and meat products. Ham, sausage, turkey skin, and gristle should not be shared with pets. Even in small amounts, the fatty pieces can cause a serious condition called pancreatitis. Don’t risk it.
- Baked goods and candy. Due to the high sugar content, these are simply not good for your pet. Additionally, some recipes have lots of butter and dairy which will not sit well with your pet at all!
- Onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks. These pungent ingredients are highly toxic to cats and dogs. Even if it is only a minor part of a larger dish, don’t share!
Keeping the Cold at Bay
We can all probably agree that the cold and the snow are lovely for a time—for a short time that is. Walks still need to happen for our pets, but it’s okay to start shortening them as the cold gets worse. Dog breeds more tolerant to the cold include Huskies, Malamutes, and other thick-coated breeds, but those with shorter coats like Boxers and Bulldogs are more prone to feeling the cold. Here are some tips for keeping your pet cozy in the cold:
- Outfit them in a sweater or jacket. Make sure the pet clothing fits comfortably, and your pet will be good to go.
- Wipe down their paws, legs, and belly. After a walk, your pet is likely to have picked up salt or other deicers on their coat and paws. Wipe them down to remove these chemicals which can cause skin irritation if left alone.
- Feed them a little more. The extra cold means pets burn a bit more calories than usual, so counteract this energy use by feeding them a little more than usual.
The holidays are a great time of year to spend with the ones you love—and that includes your pets! Make sure they have safe ways to join in the festivities with our holiday pet safety tips. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions. We’re happy to help!