I hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas celebration today with your family and friends. But in all the excitement don’t forget your furry family members.
Christmas can be a bit stressful for your pets. And hidden hazards, combined with a curious kitty or a snooping pooch, can spell trouble.
But by taking a few simple precautions today you can head off holiday troubles before they start, and prevent everything from an upset tummy to a full blown emergency.
Take a pet’s eye view
Your pet sees the world from a different perspective than you so take a moment to think about how things look from floor level. There’s a lot an inquisitive dog or cat can get into down there.
Shiny wrapping paper and glittery ribbons appeal to furry family members as much as they do to you. But those Christmas wrappings can contain materials that may endanger a pet from dyes in the paper to hard plastic decorations that can cut mouths or cause internal bleeding if swallowed. And although Mittens probably finds ribbons downright irresistible if she swallows one it can lead to a dangerous or even deadly intestinal blockage.
The simple solution is to place a trash bag near the tree before the unwrapping begins and make sure everyone knows to toss their trash immediately. It will help keep your pets safe plus you have the added bonus of the cleanup already being done.
But wrappings aren’t the only hazards your pet might encounter on the floor. An excited pet who’s determined to join in on the festivities might mistake small toys, mini batteries or pieces of gifts for toys to be chewed on or even swallowed. So make sure everyone is mindful of putting things away and not leaving new gifts unattended. And remember, twinkling lights and shiny ornaments can look an awful lot like chew toys to your pet.
Christmas plants such as holly, lilies, mistletoe, poinsettias and even the Christmas tree itself could also cause harm if eaten. Some may just lead to a sick tummy like the poinsettia while others, such as the lily, could be toxic.
Place plants well out of the reach of your pets and keep an eye on your furry pals whenever they’re in the room with the tree. If you have a live tree make sure your pet can’t get to the water which can contain fertilizers and bacteria.
Keep Christmas dinner a human’s only affair
I get it. Resisting those sad puppy eyes or those plaintive meows as your pet begs to be included in Christmas dinner can be tough. But don’t give in to the begging because people food not only can give your pet a tummy ache, it could be downright dangerous too.
Poultry, pork, and rib bones can splinter and lead to internal punctures. And rich fat filled dishes can cause a life-threatening pancreatitis attack. So make sure everyone in the house knows not to slip Fido any people food. And perhaps put out a bowl of safe snacks, such as carrot slices, for the folks who find they simply can’t resist those sweet brown eyes.
Since some clever pooches may still manage to get their paws on a few table scraps keep your eyes peeled for pancreatitis symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and not eating and drinking.
Other foods that can be sickening or toxic to your pets include…
- foods made with the artificial sweetener xylitol
- coffee or anything with caffeine
- onions, garlic and chives
- citrus peels, stems, seeds and leaves
- macadamia nuts
- salty foods
- milk and dairy products
If you think your pet might have eaten something dangerous call your vet or the Animal Poison Control Center immediately at (888) 426-4435.
And remember, with all the comings and goings today it’s easy for a pet to slip out or get overwhelmed. So keep an eye on them and make sure they have a safe space where they can escape the festivities for some quiet time if they need it.
All of us here at Healthier Talk want to wish you and your entire family, including the furry ones, a happy and healthy holiday.