White KittenToday we are going to talk about how to keep your pet safe during the busy holidays.  There are many things we enjoy that our pets might want to enjoy too but could cause them great harm.  Also, there are things we can look at to keep them as stress-free as possible as we are rushing around.  The American Veterinary Medication Association (AVMA) produced a video for pet owners since this is the busiest time of year that pets are taken to the emergency room.

Here are some tips to keep your pets safe:

Dangerous Plants

Some plants are toxic to animals and can cause anywhere from stomach upset to being fatal:

  • Christmas tree needles
  • Poinsettias
  • Mistetoe
  • Holly leaves and berries
  • Hibiscus
  • Lillies such as Asian, Casa Blanca, Japanese Show, Stargazer, Tiger
  • Click here for a great video from the ASPCA about toxic plants.

Dangerous Foods

Some foods can be very harmful to your pet and also cause anywhere from stomach upset to being fatal.  Remember the high fat content of some items can push them over the edge and cause conditions such as pancreatitis, which can lead to death.  Even just a little bit of something can possibly kill your animal, so be very careful.

  • Animal Fat
  • Fatty Foods
  • Corn/Corn Syrup
  • Sugars/Sucrose/Fructose
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Raisins & Grapes
  • Nutmeg & Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Apple & Apricot stems/seeds/leaves
  • Cherry & Plum stems/seeds/leaves
  • Peach stems/seeds/leaves
  • Tomato leaves/stems
  • Potato peelings and greenish ones
  • Onions & Onion powder
  • Iodized Salts/Salty Foods
  • Yeast/Dough
  • Xyliltol
  • Alcohol

Dangerous Items

  • Tree decorations such as tinsel or flocking can cause blockages in your pet’s stomach if eaten.  Do not decorate trees with food items.  You are just asking for trouble.
  • Wrapping items such as string, ribbon or yarn can also cause blockages.
  • Certain gifts can be toxic or cause obstruction such as perfume, after shave and batteries.  If you have a chewer, it is best to keep all gifts out of reach.
  • Glass ornaments can cause injuries if played with.  Putting them up higher on the tree may help with a dog but not the fearless cat.
  • Tree water in the stand can go stagnant and may contain sugar preservatives, flame retardant or fertilizer which can make your pet sick if they drink it.  Keep the water covered.
  • Potpourri can be toxic if eaten.
  • Some pets like to chew on extension cords which can result in shock and death.  Get pet-proof cords or try spraying with a product that helps to prevent animals from chewing like bitter apple .
  • Never put lit candles or lamps where you pet can reach them.
  • One of the most common emergencies is when a pet gets into someone else’s medication because they did not put it out of reach.
  • Watch out for chemicals you use in your home as some cleaning products can make your pet sick or be fatal.  Consider using non-toxic products.  There are a number of brands out there and most grocery stores and even some health food stores carry such products.
  • Salts and chemicals such as antifreeze and those used on icy driveways and walk ways can be hazardous.  Consider a salt-free ice melting product such as Safe Paw Ice Melter.  Wipe their paws if they’ve been on chemical type products.  If you think they have ingested something that is poisonous, contact the ASPCA Animal Control Poison Center at 1-888-426-4435.
  • Watch plastic bags and trash bags.  If your pet gets in a plastic bag, they may suffocate.  If your pet gets ahold of the trash, they may eat items or food (especially leftovers) that can make them very sick and possibly lead to death.

Keeping Your Pet as Stress-Free as Possible

  • If you have guests over, make sure your pets can be in a place they feel safe like a bedroom if they are not comfortable with a lot of people around.  Make sure you provide water.  Know that some “nice and calm” pets turn fearful, submissive or aggressive when a group of people visit their home.
  • Keep an eye on young children as sometimes they can be a bit rough or may drop your pet.
  • It is important to try to stick to your pet’s regular schedule of walking, feeding, etc. as much as possible.  If you have guests over, try to feed them as close to their regular time as possible.  You might be able to feed them a little early or a little late before guests arrive or after they leave but if that is not possible, feed them in a “safe” location while guests are there.
  • In the rush of things, especially when guests are over, your pet might accidentally be let out of your home or property.  Make sure your pet has a collar with ID tags on it.
  • If you are traveling without your pet, pets are most comfortable if they can be left in their own home where they feel safe.  Try to find a friend or reputable pet sitter that will come to your home.  Make arrangements as soon as possible due to the holiday frenzy.  If you have to use a boarding facility, there are some holistic focused ones that do not require proof of vaccinations if you have a letter from a vet stating they are healthy.  This is especially important for pets that have immune compromised systems or older animals that are on very limited vaccinations.
  • If you are traveling with your pet, make sure you know how they will react in a vehicle prior to a trip.  Some animals do not feel safe in vehicles.  Make sure they are secure in a crate or in a safety harness.  Going on a long drive or trip for the first time is not the way to find out if your pet is going to get car sick.  General car sickness can possibly be helped by ginger but if it is more fear based, then Bach Rescue Remedy or a custom blend is more likely to bring comfort.  .
  • If your pet is traveling with you, make sure you bring their essentials they are used to such as their food, food bowl, water bowl, bed, blanket or toy.

Stay safe during the holidays.  As always, if you have a topic you’d like me to address, just let me know.

Blessings to you and the animals you love!