The winter holidays are a wonderful time of year for us humans. On the other hand, this is a very dangerous time of year for our pets.
Many of us have parties and lots of guests during the holidays. With guests come doors and gates opening and closing. This is a great opportunity for your pet to get out. After the 4th of July, this is the number 1 time of year that pets are usually lost. Take some extra precautions during this time.
When company comes, be sure YOU are the person answering the door and make sure you keep an eye on your pet when guests come in.
If you allow your pet freedom in the yard, this time of year it might be better to limit his freedom. There will be a lot of smells and activity going on which will entice your pet to explore. It just takes one second for a pet to run off and get lost or worse.
Tell the guests, and especially the children, what the rules for your pet are. Make sure you let them know that it’s not OK to feed your pet table scraps. And be sure that the children (and even the adults) are not allowed to harass your pet.
Alcoholic beverages, candy, chocolate, turkey and fixings, pork, fish, chicken bones, are just a few of the hazards facing our pets. Do not give bones, especially chicken or turkey bones. They can splinter when chewed and eventually puncture the intestinal tract. Never give your pet chocolate!! It is highly toxic to animals -- causing stomach cramps, constipation or diarrhea. It's best to keep your pet on its regular diet. It's common to see dogs with both vomiting and/or diarrhea right after Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some can be seriously ill. Another food related hazard is the plastic six-pack beverage holders; kittens especially, can become entangled in them. Remember to cut them up before putting into the garbage. This will also help the wildlife at the landfills too (especially birds).
Electric cords, tinsel, glass ornaments, candles, spray on-snow, ribbons, plastic or foil wrapping, etc. can be dangerous to your pet. Cover up or hide electric cords, never let your pet chew on them. Do not tie ribbons around pet's necks or limbs. Watch out for rubber bands too.
Tinsel is very attractive to both dogs and cats and if ingested, can cause serious intestinal problems.
Many plants, including Christmas rose, holly, mistletoe and poinsettia, can be toxic to your pet. Always try to keep them out of your pets reach. The smaller the pet is the more risk of toxicity if he ingests a poisonous plant. Some signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness, difficulty breathing, and change in pupil size. Your pet may even stumble, go into convulsions, or become unconscious.
Every year thousands of pets are seriously injured or sickened by dangers that could have been easily prevented just by using a little common sense and taking a few extra precautions.
For more tips on protecting your pets during this holiday season, watch the following video by Dr. Sarah Wooten, D.V.M.