Holiday Pet Safety

By: Amber Kingsley

Just last month in November, we recognized “National Pet Cancer Awareness Month” and shared some important information about signs and symptoms of one of the leading causes of death among humans and their companion animals. Now that we’re well into the season of giving, one might wonder why we should be more aware of our pet’s health, welfare and happiness during the month of December.

You’d be amazed at the many threats our dogs, cats and other companion animals are presented with during the giving of “presents.” Everything from tinsel, decorations, packages with ribbons and bows that present a choking hazard to fattening table scraps and other dangerous foods. They can all present a clear and present danger to our pets.

Christmas Cat

      Even though these colder winter months often keep outdoor wildlife at bay (temperature, hibernation, etc), our indoor animals can be at a greater risk than just the outdoor elements. Wildlife and other pests can also pose a number of different threats to our pets, everything from bats in the attic to rodents in the basement can all be hazardous to our animals. Besides the plethora of different diseases these critters may carry, even the most innocent encounters can be deadly, a small scratch or bite can be lethal if left untreated.

Their Food & Drink

     As mentioned previously, table scraps and other fattening foods should be off the menu for our pets, not only during the holidays, but year round as well. Although some animals will “bulk” up some for these colder months, especially for those that spend time outdoors, be sure to monitor their weight so they don’t run the risk of becoming overweight or obese.

    We all know to supply our four-legged friends with plenty of fresh, clean drinking water, but make sure to monitor their outdoor source(s) of H20, especially in colder climates. An early morning frost can freeze drinking water solid even hours after sunrise. In some cases this frozen block can last all day long and deprive them of this vital liquid, which could lead to dangerous symptoms of dehydration.


Our Food & Drink

The month of December is full of some of our favorite foods, beverages and decor which can be dangerous or even deadly for our four-legged friends. Chocolate and alcohol should always be avoided at all costs, but pets should also steer clear of:

  • Almost any kind of nuts, especially macadamia, whose oils can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Dairy products, especially rich cream or eggnog, that often causes stomach distress.

  • Citrus peels, stems, seeds and their fruit are all so irritating to pets it could lead to nervous system depression and digestive issues.

  • Poisonous poinsettia, mistletoe, holly and their berries, which are all toxic.

  • Raisins and grapes have also been known to be problematic with a small percentage of the pet population. While the reasons for kidney problems associated with these fruits is unknown, the best course of action is to avoid feeding them these altogether.


Their Own Space

    Given the hectic happenings around the holidays, it’s best to give companion animals their own, separate space during these festivities. Whether it’s a spare bedroom or crate, this allows animals to retreat to a private place to escape all the hubbub. Especially if there’s a party going on, your pets will be safer in an area that’s away from forgotten drinks containing alcohol or plates that are set aside without supervision.

With a little extra care and precautions put into place, we can ensure everyone has a safe, healthy and happy holiday season, and a happy New Year for you, your family and friends.