Ahh, Its that time of year again! Cooler weather, season changes and get-togethers. FriendsGivings, family Thanksgivings, Christmas dinners, holiday parties, gift exchanges and holiday travel.  With more than 80 million families owning pets in the United States, there is no doubt some of these pets will be involved in festivities.

According to the American Pet Products Association in 2018 pet owners spent $72.56 BILLION on their furry family members in the United States. Some of that on food, clothing, vet bills and pet care (boarding, grooming, daycare, training etc). We love our pets here in the States! There is no doubt Fluffy and Fido are part of our families and get treated as such. Which puts them at risk of holiday hazards that could send them to see the veterinarian this holiday season. Keep these hazards in mind this season.

Keep the PEOPLE food up high and for PEOPLE only! 

  • Turkey and turkey drippings and other table scraps can cause severe gastroenteritis, pancreatitis or intestinal obstructions requiring hospitalization or surgery. 
  • Chocolates, Artificial Sweetners (xylitol), Macadamia nuts, Raisins, and other holiday treats can cause severe illnesses, including liver failure, kidney failure and lead to death if left untreated.
  • Uncooked Bread Dough and alcohol cause bloat and alcohol poisoning in dogs and cats

Decorations are a threat as well.

  • String lights-Pets can chew on light cords and cause burns to the mouth or electric shock.
  • Christmas Trees-pets could ingest ornaments or drink contaminated tree water, pets could chew on the artificial tree limbs and swallow parts of the tree.
  • Ribbons or tinsel- that can cause a linear foreign body requiring emergency abdominal surgery.  
  • Large decorations and gifts- can make pets anxious and cause abnormal behaviors with new items in the home.
  • Seasonal Plants- Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are among the common holiday plants that can be dangerous and even poisonous to pets. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control as a list of poisonous plants to dogs and cats.
  • Potpourri- liquid or wax scents become hot and can cause burns and emit cationic detergents and essential oils that can cause damage to your cats eyes, lungs and mouth.
  • Candles – pose a burn risk for your pets and your home if left unattended.

Parties with new or even familiar people can be very scary for your pets.  All the noise and smells and sights can be overwhelming even for some people during the holidays. Our pets senses are more attuned to sounds and smells especially.

  • Give them a safe, quiet space to escape to in your home.
  • Ask your guests to give your pet space if your they are anxious. This will reduce a bite risk.
  • Board them at a boarding facility for the night during these get-togethers if you know they do not like guests or if you will be too busy hosting to give them attention.

Traveling with our pets is more and more common and for many people travel is stressful enough. Pets will be very stressed or anxious too.  If you absolutely have to bring your pet with you and cannot leave them at a boarding facility or a get a pet sitter or leave with family or friends, then please talk to your veterinarian about safe travel tips. Here are just a few:

  • Keep proper identification and vaccination history for your pets and current photos if they become lost when in a new area.
  • Acclimate your pet to the travel crate (1-2 weeks is best) prior to planned travel date by feeding the pet there or just leaving out in a common area.  
  • Use proper pet restraints for dogs and cats when traveling in the car to keep you and your pet safe if in an accident.
  • Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss any need for anti-anxiety medications or sedation for your pet’s upcoming travel.  
  • Review airline travel requirements for health certificates when booking flights and not waiting until the last minute.

These are just the most common list of hazards your pet may encounter during the holiday season. Keep your pets safe this year by pet-proofing your home and be prepared in case of an emergency with a back-up emergency fund for your pets. Have a safe and happy holiday season!!

Luna loved Christmas… I miss her sweet face

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