Sharing the holiday season with your furry pets means thinking about some important safety tips to keep them safe. Here are a few from SAHS Chief Veterinarian Dr. Kristine Hawkins:
1. Please review all Thanksgiving meal tips and keep them in mind when preparing for the holiday feast.
2. There are certain plants, like poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe, that are seasonal and may pose a poison threat to small dogs and cats. Keep these out of reach from pets during the entire season.
3. Ribbons and tinsel are a major part of the holiday but can pose choking hazards and intestinal blockage for pets that find them irresistible. Please consider using only prefabricated bows on presents and hanging lights and ornaments instead of tinsel on trees.
4. Oh, Christmas Tree. We all love the glory of a majestic pine decorated in full splendor. Make sure your spruce is securely anchored so it doesn't tip over and fall and cause injury to your pets. Tree water can also upset your pet's stomach due to the potential presence of fertilizers and bacteria.
5. Remember that though people mostly respect the “no peeking” rule for presents under the tree, your pet has never heard this rule and might see them as irresistible packages of destruction. Breakable or valuable presents should be kept safely hidden away until Christmas morning. Presents that present a choking hazard for little kids could also pose the same threat to a pet that chews into them before Christmas. A better idea is to set the tree up in an area that your pet cannot access when unsupervised.
6. We all love the twinkle of Christmas lights, but electrical cords plugged into low outlets or wrapped low in a tree can pose an electrocution risk to pets who might find them irresistible to chew on. Plug lights into higher outlets or behind furniture that your pet can’t squeeze behind. Punctured batteries can cause dangerous burns to the mouth and esophagus, so avoid leaving these around when powering up Christmas gifts. Similarly, your pet, like your children, may never have been introduced to flame, so burning candles should NEVER be left alone with pets, whether someone is in the house or not.
7. When it comes to New Year’s Eve fireworks, the sounds can be very scary and stressful for pets. Place dogs in secure and quieter surroundings like bedrooms, utility rooms, or garages during nights where high firework activity is expected. Even a yard with a high privacy fence may not be enough to contain a terrified pet. Take extra precautions by playing soft music to help drown out the noise. If Fido or Fluffy is in with the family watching the ball come down, try not to pay special attention to their anxious antics as this will only show them there is cause for concern. Instead, remain calm and unconcerned yourself and let your pet take their cue from your easy behavior. Remember, though, that your cheers as the ball drops may not be seen as happy to them. The best idea is to find your pets a quiet room of their own where they can be safely away from all the noise. If you have concerns about your pet's anxiety prior to this night, please visit your local veterinarian for a consult.
Here’s hoping that Santa finds everyone happy and healthy this holiday season!