Holiday Pet Safety

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and you may already be preparing for an oIMG_1006_2011-10-11nslaught of goblins, ghosts, turkeys, dreidels, mistletoe, and more.  This time of year is a favorite for many, but in all of the chaos and cheer it can be easy to forget that your pets have special needs during the festivities.  Here are a few tips to help ensure you and your pets have a safe and fun holiday season.

1.  It can be tempting to let Fido get extra scraps while you’re preparing festive meals, but be careful not to overfeed pets.  Pets, especially small ones, can pack on the pounds quickly, and pet obesity can lead to a number of other issues.  Make sure to monitor your pets’ food intake, and let your guests know to refrain from feeding table food.

2.  We all know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, but there are a number of other foods that can be dangerous for pets.  Alcoholic beverages, avocados, seeds and fruit pits, artificial sweetener Xylitol, coffee, garlic, grapes, gum, macadamia nuts, onions, and yeast dough can all cause problems.  Some common plants can also be toxic to pets, including lilies, holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias.

3.  It’s always fun for humans to see trick or treaters and holiday party guests at the doorstep, but your pets may not feel the same way.  If you know that you’ll have a lot of people in and out of the house or ringing the doorbell, it’s a good idea to put pets in a back room or use a gate to prevent them from getting to the door.  Even the most mellow pets can get anxious with so much traffic, and some of your guests may not appreciate being greeted by a large bounding dog.

4.  Part of the fun of the season is decorating with festive lights, but make sure to watch the wires!  Electrical cords can be tempting toys, especially for cats, but they can also be deadly.  Make sure to secure all wires with electrical tape and, if possible, run them out of reach of pets or under rugs.

5.  You may want to share the holiday joy with your dog, but be mindful of taking them to street fairs and festivals.  These events typically include a lot of new noises, smells, and people which can contribute to stress and anxiety.  With so much going on, there’s a higher than usual risk that something will spook your dog and cause him to run off or become aggressive.  Use your best judgement, and when in doubt leave the dogs at home.

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