Holiday Pet Safety and Management!
By Leatrice Miller-Natola, CPDT, CGCE, RM
Holidays are such a wonderful time of the year! For me, the holiday season is what makes all the snow we get here in Upstate NY, bearable! However, holidays are not always fun for our pets as there is just so much going on that is different, and many, many pet hazards that pose serious health damage and can even cause death. This article is a collection of safety and management information from reliable sources including the ASPCA, and the American Veterinary Medical Association as well as my personal experience as a pet guardian and professional dog trainer. Additional information can be found at the links listed at the bottom of this article.es and fatty bits.
Be sure to have one! The following information is meant to help you create your Holiday Pet Management Plan! Assign someone to take charge of the various aspects of your plan so no one person has to do it all because, well, no one person can keep their eyes on pets all of the time.
Securely anchor the tree to keep it from being knocked over by rambunctious pets. Whether the tree is real or artificial, this hazard is real. Placing the tree in a corner can help keep the tree upright. The wires and lights are also a hazard should your pet touch a hot bulb and/or chew on the electrical wires. All the sparkly pretty ornaments are wildly tempting to household pets. Avoid breakable ornaments. I have a dog with a very long powerful tail. Numerous ornaments end up flying like missiles through my living room if he is not carefully supervised when near the tree! Just don’t do tinsel if you have pets, especially cats! They simply can’t resist that shinny, stringy toy flickering in the light. When ingested, it can cause very serious health issues that sometimes necessitate the need for surgery. If using a live tree, keep the water fresh and avoid using additives as pets will drink from the tree water. Stagnant water is full of bacteria which can lead to digestive problems.
All that beautiful holly, ivy, and mistletoe is poisonous to pets can cause a multitude of health issues if ingested. All those lovely plants like lilies and poinsettias are also dangerous to pets if ingested. Avoid the pain and suffering these items can cause and invest in some beautiful artificial versions instead. I have done just that and love the fact that I can reuse them for a few years before they need replacing. Then, because I LOVE the lovely scent of pine during the holidays, I invested is just one or two real items which I can easily supervise and keep away from my beautiful dogs, one of which is so large he can put his head on any table in the house while keeping all four feet on the ground!
Skip the real ones unless you are physically in the room when they are lit. The dangers include burns to your pet as well as damage to your home. For those times when you want the atmosphere a candle offers but you aren’t able to pay close attention to your pets, try the battery operated candles. They offer the lovely look and glow without the danger of real candles. fatty bits.
Many pet guardians really enjoy giving their pets food treats during the holidays. This is not a good idea because the foods we are eating are generally LOADED with fat, which our furry family members have a very hard time digesting. Keep in mind, their BEST gift is simply quiet time with YOU! Many of us have some extra time over the holidays. Instead of treats that upset their digestion, try instead just simply sitting and loving on your pet for a bit! Some sources suggest not giving your pet ANY human leftovers. However, those begging eyes are hard to resist. Here is a list of foods to keep out of your pets mouth.
Nothing containing the sweetener xylitol which has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs
No baked goods
No spicy stuff: it can damage their digestive system
No cooked bones they can splinter and cause all sorts of damage
No raisins or grapes
The Trash Can
The trash can is usually only a problem for dogs, however, some cats have been known to get into the trash too. Therefore, simply manage the food so it isn’t in the house where they can get it. Putting the trash behind a cabinet door will not keep your pets from getting into all that delicious food! They can smell it. Avoid problems and make sure all leftover food is put away in the refrigerator. Food that is thrown in the trash must be taken out of the house, especially the bones and fatty bits.
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