Holiday Pet Tips

It’s the holiday season again. Time to put up the tree and plan for joyous festivities with friends and family, including your furry kids. But before you decorate and plan your parties, take time to consider a few tips to keep your pets safe and healthy throughout the season.

Tinsel is a popular holiday decoration but this shimmering strand is a great temptation to felines. Tinsel can easily be pulled apart and accidently swallowed where it may end up lodged somewhere in kitty’s digestive tract causing an obstruction, vomiting, dehydration and finally result in surgical removal. The same could be said about small ornaments made of glass, covered with strands of satin, or which contain small parts. If these are placed in an area within reach, there is the possibility that your pet could break the decoration and swallow the parts. Mistletoe can cause dyspepsia and cardiovascular problems if ingested whereas holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It’s better to avoid these types of decorations than risk your pet’s health.

Live Christmas Trees require water and often treatments are added to that water to help keep the tree ‘evergreen’ and fresh throughout the holidays. If your pet should happen to drink the water, nausea and vomiting are sure to follow. Stagnant water under the tree is just as bad due to the bacteria it breeds. Keep the tree stand well covered to prevent your pet from taking a drink. Keep the tree stand well-anchored, too, to prevent the tree from tipping over – in case your feline friend should decide to climb it.

It’s easy to park an unfinished beverage and forget about it but, with pets around, it’s best to be on your guard. We don’t suggest that you follow your guests around the house but collecting and disposing of glasses of unconsumed alcohol is in your pet’s best interest. Pets can mistake any liquid for water. An overdose of alcohol, however, could make your pet extremely ill or, worse case, go into a coma. Be sure to caution holiday visitors about leaving alcohol or any medications where your pet could come into contact with them.

We recommend that you avoid feeding your pet from the table. Many foods that we humans enjoy can not only irritate the digestive system of your pet, causing nausea, intestinal irritation and diarrhea, but can even be dangerous. For a detailed list of these, the ASPCA has posted a list of people foods that you should avoid feeding your pets.

Finally, we love giving our pets new toys. Be sure that the toys you gift are too large to fit into your pet’s mouth, can’t be chewed or shredded to bits that could be swallowed and do not release small parts that your pet could choke on or get lodged in its digestive tract. Scarves for your pet to wear around its neck can become tangled on furnishings, the pet’s claws, or within a doorway causing your pet to panic or even choke himself. Buy toys that are appropriate for your pet’s size and behavior.

Remember, if you do have a pet emergency, AHVEC is open nights, weekends and all holidays from 6 PM to 8 AM.


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