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Top 3 Holiday Dangers For Your Pet

Holiday Safety Concerns

As delicious and stressful as the holiday season can be for most humans, it’s important to remember how delicious and stressful it can be for our pets. With all of the decorations, guests and food associated with the holidays, it’s important to make sure you keep your pets safe by understanding the dangers below.

1. Holiday Food

During the holidays, we have copious amounts of delicious food to share. Here are the two most common items that cause pets to become sick:

  • Chocolate: Most holiday dessert items contain chocolate. Chocolate is not only a gastrointestinal irritant for dogs, but in high enough quantities can cause severe neurological signs.
  • Table Scraps:  Too many table scraps can lead to pancreatitis. Your pancreas is in charge of releasing enzymes for digestion and insulin. If the pancreas becomes inflamed, our pets can experience extreme pain and become very sick. 

Avoidance is very important. If your animal is a counter surfer, do not leave food items unattended or feed your pet table scraps. It’s also important to let your guests know about this as well.

2. Loss of Routine

Not only do we have all of the food and potential foreign bodies to think about, but also the loss of routine. If your pet is used to a small family unit of 4, and all of a sudden you have 6 relatives visiting or staying with you, this may be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to make sure they feel safe and comfortable:

  • Make sure your animal has a safe and quiet place to call their own. 
  • For cats, keeping food, water, and a litter box in an area they can access at all times is crucial. If they have to navigate through a large crowd to use their litter box, they may pee on your bed instead.
  •  Make sure to offer dogs ample opportunity to exercise outside of all the visitors. Mentally stimulate your pet by continuing with your training routine. 
  • Seek advice from your veterinarian about products that in combination with your efforts at home will help decrease anxiety in your pets.

In the event that you can not keep your pet comfortable during a holiday, consider asking another member of the family to host the main event. Boarding your animals is also a consideration. 

3. Holiday Decorations

While the decorations in your home are beautiful and festive, they can be a major safety risk for your pet. If you have any of the decorations below make sure they’re out of reach for your pets.

  • Christmas tree: If your cats are interested in eating and climbing your Christmas tree, try a fake one. Christmas trees can cause diarrhea and vomiting if eaten.
  • Ornaments:  If your animals are chewing on ornaments, it might be necessary to forgo a tree and hang those ornaments in hard to reach areas of the house. 
  • Plastics, papers, streamers and tinsel: these can cause a gastrointestinal obstruction in a cat or dog if ingested.
  • Mistletoe: Mistletoe contains multiple substances that can be toxic to pets – which, in small doses can cause a drop in blood pressure, breathing problems and hallucinations; in large doses, can cause seizures and death.
  • Lilies: When cats ingest this plant, it can cause anything from gastrointestinal issues, to convulsions, to kidney failure. 

Prevention is Key

One of our many goals as veterinarians is prevention. We want to prevent your animal’s illness and prevent you from spending your holiday in our emergency waiting room. If you have a question about how to make sure the holidays are safe and comfortable for your pet, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Happy Holidays from our team at Care First Animal Hospital!

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