We have a one-dog and one-cat household. Our pets are important members of our family, and we want to keep them safe and happy during the holiday season. What are some of the problems we should be aware of?
The commotion of family and friends coming and going, rich foods and sweet treats and attractive decorations -- all are potential trouble for our pets. Resist the urge to share holiday treats with your pets. Fatty and rich foods can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and sometimes fatal pancreas problems in pets. Turkey and chicken skin, for example, are very fatty. Bones can lacerate an animal’s digestive system. The small bones in chicken and turkey are particularly dangerous, so be sure to wrap bones securely so pets cannot get to them, even when they are in a trash can.
Cookies and candy can produce the same symptoms as fatty foods. Chocolate, especially the type used in baking, can be very toxic. Liquor and beer are also very dangerous. If you must give your pets treats, buy dog biscuits and kitty treats or pet nibbles. And remember to make sure all such items are well out of your pet’s reach at all times, so they do not help themselves.
Your Christmas tree is another potential hazard for your pets. They can be drawn to the bright lights, shiny ornaments and tinsel. Veterinarians see too many pets with obstructed or cut bowels, mouths, and paws from broken decorations. Cats are notorious for climbing the trees, batting at ornaments and causing trees to crash and lights to short circuit. A wise pet owner keeps an eye on the tree and on the pets. It is also prudent to turn off tree lights or pen the pets away from it when no one is around. Mistletoe and poinsettias are poisonous and should be kept out of pets’ reach.
Finally, some pets may become over stimulated or intimidated by all the activities surrounding the holidays. Everything from deliveries to party gatherings may mean a disruption of the routine for some pets. It may be beneficial to remove the animal to a peaceful spot in the house when the household becomes too active.
Preventive measures like the ones outlined should ensure a happy holiday season for your pet and you. If your pet shows vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and/or lack of appetite, take your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.