Whichever holiday you celebrate this winter, there are common dangers to be aware of! We want to celebrate with our pets and keep them safe at the same time.
Whether you are staying home and hosting for the holidays or travelling to be with family, make sure you know your emergency options. Your veterinarian likely has holiday hours, but they usually have emergency care recommendations. When we’re closed at ORAH, all you have to do is call us! Our voicemail will tell you what to do if you need emergency help. We have a pager number, and the number to contact the emergency hospital we recommend.
If you’re out of town, make sure to have a copy of your pets medical records. Your veterinarian can print a paper copy for you or email you an electronic copy. Having access to these records makes it easier if we have to see you for an issue while you’re visiting. The more we know about your pet, the faster we can help them in an emergency.
We also use an app called PetDesk, that you can download on your phone and it will give you access to basic health records for each of your pets. You can also schedule appointments, request medication refills and set reminders for monthly preventatives!
Keep the holiday feast for the humans! Common toxins are sweets like chocolate (especially dark) and sugar free sweeteners. Other foods that can be troublesome are turkey and turkey skin, bones, grapes, raisins, garlic, onions and yeast dough. During the holidays we like to indulge in fatty foods, which can be hard for pets to digest. Make sure the trash can is secured and under lock down, too.
If you want to treat your pets during the holidays, it’s best to have specific treats for your pets on hand.
From the AVMA website: “Quick action can save lives. If you believe your pet has been poisoned or eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately. You may also want to call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 1-888-426-4435. Signs of pet distress include: sudden changes in behavior, depression, pain, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Candles and fire can be dangerous for pets. A curious cat, a rambunctious dog. It’s best to keep pets away from open flames and make sure your fireplace, stove or candles are protected from curious pets.
Christmas trees can also pose a risk if not secured. Try attaching to the ceiling or wall if you have curious pets that may try to climb and play with lights or ornaments. You can also use a gate to keep pets away from the tree.
In addition to trees, be aware of what plants are in your home. Certain plants are toxic to cats and dogs. Even plants that aren’t toxic may give your pets a stomach ache if they munch on them.
Ornaments and other holiday decorations can also hurt pets. Broken ornaments can injure pets. Ornaments made with food products can be toxic. Any ornament can get stuck if your pet tries to eat it. Other decorations like tinsel and small decorative objects have the same risks. Strings of lights can cause burns if chewed by curious pets. A pet gate or barrier can keep curious pets safe!
Even the most well behaved furry family members may get themselves into trouble at the holidays. The decorations and hubbub may cause them to be more curious than usual or they might be a little nervous about all the new stimulation.
Make sure that pets have access to a safe space where they can escape the celebrating. This should be a place that they already feel comfortable, and is away from the center of celebration. Make sure they have some of their favorite things, a blanket, bed or toy.
They should also have something to keep them busy. This could be a brand new toy or an old faithful. You can offer an interactive toy or a frozen toy filled with peanut butter. If pets get anxious with a lot of new stimulation- medication may be helpful. Discuss with your veterinarian what may be helpful for your pet!
Make sure guests know the rules. Whether pets stay inside or are allowed outside. What foods and treats are okay for pets. Whether guests are allowed to bring their own pets, and how to introduce unfamiliar pets so everyone is happy and comfortable.
Make sure your pet has updated identification, too. Make sure that their microchip information is up to date and their collar and tag is on and the contact number is correct. Even an up to date rabies tag on a collar can help reunite an owner and pet. Make sure that the vet where your rabies vaccine was done, has your current phone number on file.
If you have any questions about travelling with your pets or easing the holiday stress for them, please give us a call! We are always happy to chat about recommendations for your furry family members!