Pet’s Guide to the Holidays
The holidays are upon us, the time of year we spend with our friends and family, enjoying their company and sharing special treats that we save for just this time of year. It is also a time when our furry friends are exposed to potential dangers that most of us don’t even think about. Something as innocuous as a batch of rolls rising on the counter can prove deadly. So to keep our holidays jolly for us and our four-legged friends, I put together a holiday survival guide, a sort of what to do, what not to do to make sure everyone has a fun and safe holiday season!
Do not give your dog table scraps. This isn’t just because I want them to maintain their trim physique through the holidays, some of our special holiday treats can be deadly. Most people know that dogs should not have chocolate, but other things to avoid include onions, garlic, scallions, macadamia nuts and grapes (including the shriveled kind-raisins). If you must, a bit of skinless, boneless, non-greasy turkey can be an excellent treat, but should be avoided in pets that have known food sensitivities or have had other dietary issues in the past. Overly fatty foods and treats have been associated with gastrointestinal problems and even pancreatitis in some predisposed individuals. Also- never give bones, they can break teeth, cause intestinal blockages and sharp edges can even puncture through the wall of the stomach or intestines. Bones are never a safe treat for your pet.
No candy. Sugar free candies, gums and other sweets that contain xylitol are also very toxic. So as to avoid any troubles it is best to avoid anything of the sweet variety.
Store all unbaked dough out of reach of pets. Unbaked dough, when ingested will continue to rise and cause painful and dangerous stomach enlargement and bloat.
Avoid ribbons, tinsel, package string, anything that may be enticing to a little furry friend (especially cats, and they can lead to significant issues in the gastrointestinal tract and even require surgery if ingested.
Christmas trees are wonderful and bring joy to most of us that have one, but they are an unfortunate source of risk to both dogs and cats. Lights, though they twinkle, are a hazard because cords can easily be nibbled upon and cause burns, electrocution, or even cause fires if wires become damaged; try to keep light cords out of pets’ reach. Ornaments are also a hazard, glass ones can fall and break, small ones make tempting cat toys…the list goes on and on. Again, try to keep them out of reach to prevent accidental ingestion or other catastrophe. There are some pets that can circumvent all strategies to keep things out of reach by knocking over a tree, simple as that. Christmas trees are best if secured or kept in corners to try and avoid a holiday “timber!!”
Many people are aware that poinsettias, mistletoe and holly help bring color to many a holiday decoration, but all three are also toxic and should always be kept were dogs and cats cannot reach to avoid being chewed upon.
If you are like me, you enjoy a lovely holiday beverage when the time comes. Not only should we all practice safe drinking (please don’t drive) we need to make sure our furry friends are not also partaking in a little holiday cheer because animals are very sensitive to alcohol and can easily suffer a severe toxicity from even a small amount.
The holidays for many of us include guests. Though we may greatly enjoy seeing numerous family members and friends, our pets can be exposed to any number or risks. First off, new people tend to be a big stressor for most pets causing potentially destructive or aggressive behavior. Other concerns guests may bring is various medications, many human medications are toxic if not deadly when consumed by animals, so all medications should be kept out of reach of pets and in closed containers. For those pets not used to children, the pitter patter of little feet and joyful giggles can be painfully stressing, to avoid any potential negative outcomes, it is likely best for these pets to be provided a safe hiding place to escape from children and other strangers.
The holidays should be a great time for one and all, just keep these things in mind to try an ensure that all members of the family can enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season!!