While holidays are filled with fun and enjoyment for most people, many of our pets may not be as excited about the festivities. There are a variety of holiday dangers pet owners should be aware of when these special days arrive on the calendar. Here are a few holiday pet safety tips to make sure your pets are safe all throughout the busy season.
Halloween is filled with tricks and treats, ghosts, and goblins, but here are a few “tricks” to help keep your pet safe and happy.
- Don’t feed your pet(s) Halloween candy, especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol (a common sugar substitute). Avoid tummy upsets by making sure your pet’s treats are species-specific.
- Make sure your pet has proper identification (microchip, collar, and ID tag) to ensure their safe return should they escape through an open door while you’re distracted with trick-or-treaters. Better yet, make your pet comfortable in another room away from open doors.
- Keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns out of the reach of pets.
- If you plan on dressing your pet for Halloween, make sure their costume fits properly and is comfortable to wear. Additionally, check for any pieces that could easily be chewed off and be certain that the costume doesn’t interfere with your pet’s sight, hearing, breathing, panting, or movement. Avoid elaborate, tight-fitting costumes with strings, ties, belts, and sashes. Take the time necessary to get your pet used to the costume before the big night and never leave your pet unsupervised while wearing a costume.
- Glow sticks and glow jewelry can be a hazard to your pets too. Although the liquid inside these products isn’t likely toxic, it tastes really bad and can make pets salivate excessively and act strangely.
- If your pet is wary of strangers or is at all uncomfortable in odd situations, make sure to give them a safe hiding place, ideally in another room. Even the well-adjusted pet can become anxious due to the incessant ringing of the doorbell, constant squeals, and chatter of children just outside the door.
- Keep your pets inside! Even if you have a pet that loves spending time outdoors, protect them from any mischief that might occur by bringing them in on All Hallows Eve.
Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, food, and football! However, while most of the family is lounging and engaging in all-day tryptophan-filled turkey-tasting, your pet smells all of the delicious scents of the day! Smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie, and turkey baking in the oven waft through the house filling you – AND your dog – with mouth-watering anticipation. But we can’t forget that our delicious human food comes with a risk to our pets. To avoid a trip to the animal ER, we have some timely tips for you.
- Keep your pets out of the kitchen. Accidental counter-surfing can result in severe poisoning to your pet.
- Make sure your guests know the house rules: Don’t feed your pets! Your family and friends may not be aware of the common kitchen foods that are quite poisonous to pets. Politely inform all your guests to always ask permission before feeding any treats.
- Take the trash out! Somehow your pet will find a way to get into the trash, finding the leftover corn-on-the-cob, turkey skin and bones, and the fatty gristle, all of which pose a threat to your pet. Protect your pet from gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, a gastrointestinal obstruction, or even seizures by immediately removing food scraps.
- No pie or other desserts for your pets. Yeast dough can cause problems, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.
- Instead of feeding your pet food from your feast, opt instead for a Thanksgiving-flavored treat or chew. Look for flavors such as cranberry, pumpkin, sweet potato, or turkey.
- Keep loose potpourri out of the reach of pets. Not only can it present a choking hazard, but the ingredients can be poisonous, depending on the blend.
- Keep pets occupied during food preparation or football games with a food/treat dispensing toy. Not only will this keep your pet busy, but it will also challenge and stimulate them mentally.
As long as your feast stays on the table and not under it, everyone will have a happy Thanksgiving Day.
See more Thanksgiving tips here.
The tree is being decorated, the mistletoe is hanging, and the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas are everywhere! To make sure your pet’s holiday is merry and bright, here are some hints to keep them safe and sound.
- Make sure that you securely anchor your Christmas tree so it can’t fall, causing possible injury to your pet. Remember that stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet may end up with nausea or diarrhea if they drink it.
- Keep holly and mistletoe out of the reach of your pets. Holly, when ingested, can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Artificial plants may be a better choice to keep your pets safe.
- Although tinsel looks beautiful on your tree, it can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration, and possible surgery for any pet that may nibble and swallow it.
- Keep wires, batteries, and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach.
- As with our other holidays, skip the sweets, leave the leftovers, and make sure that any adult holiday beverages are placed where curious pets cannot get to them.
- Remember to have a safe place where your pet can go to avoid the hectic festivities when it gets to be too much for them.
- Stuff their stocking with some treats, chews, and toys. Let your pet open all their presents first so that they’ll be occupied as you and your family exchange gifts.
If you’re traveling with your pet for the holidays, make sure you have two sets of identification, such as a microchip and a collar with an ID tag. In addition to all of the necessities, food, water, bowls, crate or bed, toys, and treats, be sure to include a calming product and maybe something with your scent, such as a t-shirt that you’ve worn. These “comfort” items may be just the thing to relieve a little anxiety that may occur during your travels.
On behalf of everyone at Jeffers, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season! Merry Christmas!
Information given here is meant to be helpful and/or educational. It is, in no way, intended to supersede, challenge or supplant the diagnosis, treatment, or advice of a licensed veterinarian.
Renee Jones, CPDT-KSA, is a certified professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers: Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, and Jean Donaldson, to name a few. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She serves as a Pet Marketing and Canine Specialist for JeffersPet and JeffersPet.com.
Questions about this article, training, or non-emergent health concerns are welcome. Renee can be reached most days from 9am – 5pm Central Time (Mon-Fri) at 1-800-JEFFERS (533-3377) ext 381 or by email email@example.com.