With all the fun and frenzied times of the holidays, we need to take a moment to secure the safety of our own beloved pets. Doing so doesn’t take much time and can reduce the possibility of a trip to the emergency room. Here are some quick tips for keeping your pet safe.
Decorations & Christmas Tress
Christmas trees pose several possible threats to cats and dogs. Glass ornaments can be broken and stepped on, electric cords can be chewed, and tinsel can be swallowed, causing vomiting and intestinal blockages. Even the water at the base of the tree can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea if a pet drinks it.
Cats might mistake the tree for a great climbing condo for your kitty, so either stabilize the tree with this extra weight in mind or keep your cat out of the tree completely by placing a barrier around the tree or even using sophisticated motion detectors.
Scented candles and liquid potpourris, so popular when entertaining, can be toxic when ingested or cause topical burns if spilled.
The gifts under the tree can also hold hidden dangers. Ribbons and string, if eaten, can cause stomach problems. I have also seen Fido digest inedible parts such as batteries and open edible gifts like chocolates and nuts. Pets can smell out foods that are wrapped and left under the tree, and chocolate — especially dark chocolate — contains theobromine, a caffeine-like chemical substance that can cause severe seizures and even death.
Some holiday-season plants can harm your pet. Mistletoe and poinsettias are harmful if consumed. Here’s a list of other common household plants that are poisonous to pets.
A lot of cooking and eating goes on during the holidays. Nevertheless, do not indulge begging, doleful eyes. Many foods that are fine for humans to consume can be dangerous — even deadly — to cats and dogs. Rich meat or turkey may cause acute diarrhea in some pets. Onions can cause blood disorders and possibly death. Grapes can cause renal disease.
Bones can cause gastro-intestinal obstructions and rich foods can cause pancreatitis, vomiting, and diarrhea.
With lots of visiting and opening of front doors, pets can escape. Make sure your pets are microchipped and safely secured in their crate or a private room. Cats usually don’t like changes in their routine, and lots of comings and goings can upset them. Make sure they have a quiet area they can escape to.
Stress (Yours and Your Pet’s)
If you’re stressed, your best friend will pick up on your feelings and will feel stressed too. They and you will feel better if you keep some routines in place, e.g. exercise, play, feeding, and sleeping schedule. In anticipation of stress and overindulgence, you may want to have Tagamet or Pepcid on hand for yourself and your pet. Consult your vet for dosages and appropriate usage.
This copyrighted article first appeared in the Residences section of The Palm Beach Post. It may have been updated since its original publication.