Since it is now officially winter, it is the perfect time to brush up on some of the need-to-know facts about taking care of your favorite furry friends this season. While the snow, cooler temperatures and holiday cheer can be very exciting and joy-filled for pets, it also brings along a whole new set of hazards. With the help of our friends at North Shore Animal League America, we are pleased to share with you some of the most important holiday pet tips. Don’t forget to check out our Rescue Me section for some great pets looking for a wonderful holiday home.
Ensure Your Pet is Wearing a Collar/ID!
One of the best parts of the holiday season is being able to see your close family and friends. However, this yearly ritual also entails a lot more traffic going in-and-out of your front door. Inevitably, this can increase the risk of your pet getting loose. Therefore, you should make sure that your pet has some form of ID, whether that is a chip or a tag so that they can be easily found if they do manage to slip through the front door while guests are coming in-and-out.
In addition, when putting a suitable collar on your pet, it is recommended that you avoid such things as ribbon and colorful string. While these materials may look festive, they are not meant to be used as a collar and can pose even more hazards to your pets’ well being. Materials like ribbon are prone to fraying and can be a notable chewing temptation. In addition, they can easily get wrapped around on furniture or handles, which can lead to choking.
Fortunately, plenty of pet supply stores sell festive/bright colored collars, which work perfectly with a clear, detailed tag.
Be Aware of Christmas Tree-Related Hazards!
Many people set up beautiful Christmas tree displays during the holiday season. While they look nice, they can be problematic with four-legged friends roaming around. Therefore, it is important that you secure your tree, ensuring that it cannot be easily knocked over. In addition, when dealing with real trees, it is important to keep the water inaccessible to your pets. Since often this tree water contains tree preservatives and fertilizers, which trigger stomach problems, it is best that your pets are not able to easily drink it. Lastly, pet owners should also maintain a clean environment surrounding the tree. With pine needles being notably sharp, they can puncture your pets’ intestines; therefore it is crucial that they be swept up on a regular basis.
Dangers of Open Flames!
Clearly, things like candles, menorahs and accessible fireplaces can be very dangerous when you have a cat and/or dog running around. These objects should never be left unattended when your pets are around. In addition, if you are putting candles in places that are easily accessible by your pets, consider opting for flameless ones.
Be Weary of Tinsel, Ribbons and Ornaments!
Inevitably, shiny and seemingly playful strings of tinsel can be a huge temptation for pets – especially cats. Unfortunately, ingesting tinsel can not only lead to an upset stomach for your pets but also serious health issues if it gets wrapped around your pets’ intestines. In severe cases, ingesting tinsel can result in costly and scary surgical intervention.
In addition, wrapping paper and ornaments are also something to be aware of. Ingestion of fragments of either material can lead to notable distress for your pets, triggering symptoms such as depression, stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea. Glass ornaments can even cause internal bleeding if knocked over and ingested by your cat and/or dog. Therefore, it is very important that you make sure these sorts of holiday-related items are out of your pets’ reach throughout the season.
Holiday Foliage Faux Pas!
It is important that, as a pet owner, you are aware that such foliage as holly, evergreens, and mistletoe, are all toxic to your furry loved ones. In addition, Poinsettias are also hard on your pets’ health, as they can cause gastric upset when ingested. Therefore, it is best that all types of holiday foliage are kept far away from your pets.
Be Cautious of Electrical Cords!
Lots of holiday decorations require electricity, meaning that there are often an increased number of extension cords and such lying around the house during the winter season. Unfortunately, such cords can be appetizing to pets, which have been known to chew on them. When pets chew on electric cords, they become susceptible to harmful jolts, burns, and can result in an abnormal heartbeat. In worse case scenarios, pets chewing on electrical cords can result in their untimely death. To mitigate this risk, all electric cords should be secured and kept out of the way of your pets.
Troublesome Sweets and Treats!
As tempting as it may be, it is not a good idea to share people food with your pets. This can lead to upset stomach, major illness, and in some cases, death. Only share minimal amounts (if any) of fatty foods, such as turkey and ham, with your pets and completely avoid onions, onion powder, grapes, raisins and chocolate. To avoid this temptation, stock up on some pet treats so that you don’t accidentally get your pets sick from your thought-to-be generous gesture (of sharing people food with them).
Be Aware When Hosting Holiday Parties!
Inevitably, holiday parties can get very loud and crowded. This increased volume can scare and confuse pets. You should find a secluded place for you pets, where they can go to retreat from the seemingly hectic festivities. In addition, you should also check on your pets periodically throughout your party to make sure that they are okay.
Now that you know some of the top pet-related hazards and dangers of the holiday season, you can go ahead in ensuring that you have a safe and festive environment for your animals this season. By being aware and pro-active, you can make sure that you – and your furry companions – have a healthy and happy holiday season!