Watch out for these holiday dangers
If you are spending holidays with your pets, whether they are new family members or old friends, keep them in mind with these tips!
Table scraps can be a big problem for your pup during the holidays. Many times the foods we eat is delicious, and it seems only fair to share some with your best friend; however feeding your pup food he is not used to eating can lead to diarrhea, discomfort, and in severe cases, pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a disease where the pancreas (a producer of the strongest digestive enzymes) can get inflamed and the enzymes can leak into the body cavity. This is extremely painful, can be difficult to treat, and can lead to damage to other organs. It is much more common in dogs, but this can be a problem in cats, too!
Bones from various meats can be a problem, too. But don’t dogs eat bones all the time? Yes! But bones, especially cooked chicken bones, can be very brittle. They can break into sharp pieces and cause damage to the stomach and intestines. Raw chicken bones do not usually do this, but your pet could suffer from a low-grade salmonella infection.
Instead of giving your dog table scraps, consider making her some home made dog treats! Yum! Here is a free recipe that you could try:
Another holiday hazard to beware is tinsel. Tinsel is especially a problem for cats. Tinsel is a beautiful addition to your holiday decorations, but cats in particular seem to be drawn to it. If ingested, tinsel can cause severe damage to the intestines and stomach. Often this requires an emergency surgery to remove and even this may not save your pet’s life. Instead of tinsel, consider decorating with cloth-based products. These are often re-usable, so you can use them year after year with your pet!
Christmas trees can really brighten a room and bring you closer to nature in these cold months, but beware of these, too! The tree itself is not a problem for pets (although if your cat climbs one, she may take a tumble). The danger lies in the water beneath the tree. The preservatives we use to keep the tree looking its best throughout the season is tempting to drink. These are often toxic to our furry friends. You may have to put a small ‘fence’ around the base of your tree to prevent your pets from reaching the water.
The last holiday danger to keep an eye on is candles. The scent from candles can cause harm to birds and lead to toxicity. Many cats and dogs also may try to touch or play with the fire, leading to a fire hazard. We recommend only using candles with supervision, or consider using a wax melter instead.
If you are planning to have company over, please keep in mind that this may provide a source of stress for your pets. A lot of people in the house can be overwhelming! Ensure your pet always has a room to hide and get away from it all. For cats, consider putting their food and water in that room and ensure they have a litter box easily accessible. Keep with your pets’ routines as much as possible to help alleviate any stress. Make sure you talk to your veterinarian about ways to relieve stress in your pet prior to the holiday season.
Ok, so what fun holiday plans can I make for my pet?
One of the best ways to treat your pet during the holidays is to get them a new toy! Toys (especially new ones) can help provide some exercise, enrichment, and help strengthen their bond to you. Any new toy should be used with supervision. A fun way to present said toy is to wrap it in newspaper (try not to use tape if you can) or naturally died wrapping paper. Your pet can safely open up her own present, so long as there is no ribbon.
If you get an extra day off this year, take your pup on an extra long walk! Although it is winter and a little cold, many dogs do not mind the cold and will enjoy the quality time spent with you. For cats, make sure to schedule some extra play time or cuddle time. For rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small mammals, consider a new puzzle toy or an extra serving of vegetables! Reptiles and amphibians may enjoy an upgrade to an enclosure or new piece of furniture. They also love new bulbs whenever possible.
However you choose to spend the holidays with your pets, we at All Creatures are wishing you a happy and healthy new year!