While you are busy making your festive plans for the holidays, don't forget to include your pets. A little precaution and prevention makes the holidays a happy time for everyone.
Some common holiday pet hazards include:
- Bones: The holiday turkey or chicken will leave a lot of tantalizing bones, but don't feed them to your pet. Beware of steak bones too. Small bones or chips can lodge in the throat, stomach and intestinal tract.
- Fat: Those wonderful potato latkes (watch the hot oil), gravies, and poultry skin can cause severe gastrointestinal upset as well.
- Holiday plants: Holly and mistletoe are poisonous when eaten. The lovely poinsettia may not be truly poisonous, but its milky white sap and leaves can certainly cause severe gastric distress. With so many hybrid varieties available each year, the best approach is to keep the plants out of your pet's reach.
- Electrical cords: Holiday lights mean more electrical cords for kittens and puppies to chew. Be sure you have cords secured and out of the way.
- Candles: Lighted candles should never be left unattended and that is even more important if left at kitty's eye level or within puppy's chewing zone. An exuberant tail, a swat of a paw, and candles and hot wax can quickly become disastrous. Anchor candles securely and away from curious faces and feet.
- Pine needles: Check around holiday trees and boughs frequently. Ingested pine needles can puncture your pet's intestines if sharp enough.
- Holiday tree: Make sure your tree is well secured. If you have a tree climbing cat or a large dog with a happy tail, anchor the top of the tree to the wall, using strong cord or rope. Preservatives often used in the water in a tree stand can cause gastric upset, so be sure it is not accessible or not used. Avoid sugar and aspirin additives in the water as well.
- Ornaments: Sharp or breakable ornaments, dreidels and even aluminum foil should be kept out of reach. String objects, especially tinsel and ribbons are to be safeguarded at all costs. They are thin and sharp and can wrap around intestines or ball up in the stomach.
- Stress and company: Make sure your pets have collars and tags on in case of escape. Ask guests to keep an eye out for pets underfoot and remind them your normally friendly dog or cat may be less than willing to deal with enthusiastic children and rooms full of unfamiliar people. Provide a special quiet place with a blanket and fresh water for your pets to retreat to when the festivities get too stressful.
Happy holidays from your Plano Animal Shelter! We look forward to helping you find a new furry family member in the new year.