Tis' the season again... As the days get colder, the holidays draw more near. The holidays are a time when we want to be close with our friends and family members. Pets are of course the furrier part of our family who we want to spend the holidays with. During this festive season though, there are a few hazards lying around house that sometimes our furrier friends can get into. It is important to be aware of some of the risks that come with the holiday season for our pets. Today we will be discussing some of the risks to be aware of and a few things you can do to prevent them.
During the winter holidays, many people love to decorate their houses to bring in some festive cheer. New decorations in the house can sometimes look like a new potential toy for our pets to play with. Be aware of anything that might dangle or jingle. Hang these decorations up high and out of reach for our pets. If you have any cats or other potential climbers in the house, make sure your Christmas tree is secure and won’t fall over. Also be careful with candles and other decorations with fire; make sure your critters in the house can’t accidentally knock them over. Tape down any electrical cords and maybe carefully spray parts of them with a product like Bitter Apple to discourage pets from chewing on the cords. Place gifts with food inside higher up where the animals can’t reach. Be careful with plants like Mistletoe and Holly, as these plants can be poisonous to our pets.
When having guest over, it is important to have a plan for appropriately handling your pet. Make sure there is a safe space for your pet to go to, like a crate or a private bedroom, where they can relax, feel safe, and not feel so overwhelmed. Inform people to be attentive with their belongings, and put them somewhere safe the pet can’t get to. Check in and make sure your holiday guests knows the pet’s basic body language and when to give your pet a break. Talk to your guest about how to play gently and maybe where to take your pet out for a walk if they want to spend some extra time with the pet.
Don’t give our pets any special holiday treats in the form of people food. Holiday food can be fattening and toxic for our furry friends, even the leftover bones which can cause a variety of GI problems. If you would like to give your pet a tasty treat for the holidays stop by your local pet store, as they are likely to have something cooked up for the holidays. Work on training your pets not to beg at the dinner table or let them steal food off of it. Be sure to research ahead of time and find the number of your local emergency care clinic. Knowing the local emergency clinic’s location ahead of time will help you be better prepared in case something happens.
Lastly, there are many noises and surprises that can frighten our pets such as singing figurines and fireworks that go off during New Years. It is important to make sure that your pet is secure in the home and doesn’t run away from home if frightened. Make sure your backyard is fenced off and doesn’t have any weak spots where dogs could easily break through. In case an incident happens, make sure your pet is microchipped. A lost pet has a much higher chance of making it back home with a microchip.
We hope that with this list of safety tips and tricks that everyone can stay safe, and have a happy holidays.
By Brittany Ligon, Veterinary Assistant at Pinole Pet Hospital