It's Ashley and Sarah here at GCPH, with some information about how to
keep your pets safe and happy this holiday season. We all enjoy the holidays
and all the food, family, and friends that accompany this time of year. But the
festivities can also be dangerous for our furry friends. Pet-proofing your home
is an important part of keeping them safe this holiday season. Here are a few
tips to keep in mind:
-Avoid dangerous and toxic items. Decorations such as mistletoe,
poinsettias, holly, lilies, yarn, ribbons, and tinsel can be dangerous to pets.
It's best to avoid these items all together. Your home doesn't have to lack
holiday cheer, however! There are safe alternatives to many of these items.
As an alternative to tinsel, silver paper ornaments can be used. Or tinsel can
be placed inside a clear bulb. It's also a good idea to keep all holiday
decorations out of your pets' reach. Try elevating the Chistmas tree off of the
ground to keep low-hanging ornaments away from cats. Electric strings of
lights can be deadly if chewed on. Cover all electrical cords with duct tape or
use battery-powered strings of lights instead. Imported snow globes have also
been found to contain anti-freeze, which is extremely toxic to animals, so be
sure to keep these far out of pets' reach.
-The holidays are full of delicious treats, but some of these can also be
dangerous to your pets. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. Alcohol is also
toxic to animals and should NEVER be given. Bread dough containing yeast
can be deadly, as it can expand in a pet's stomach. Raisins, grapes, onions,
and garlic are also toxic to pets. Sugar-free sweets such as gum and candy
containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol are also poisonous. Leftover food,
especially fatty meat scraps, can produce severe inflammation of the
pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal pain, vomiting, and bloody
diarrhea and no one wants that!
-Living in Minnesota, we have some serious cold weather to contend with.
There are a few important things to keep in mind to make sure your pet stays
comfortable on even the chilliest days. Contrary to popular belief, our pets' fur
alone cannot adequately protect them from the elements. Bringing pets
indoors is ideal on cold days and nights. If that is not an option, they should
have a well-insulated shelter just large enough for them to curl up inside to
maintain their body heat. Heating pads or blankets can help keep the shelter
warm enough. It is also essential to have a heated water bowl that will not
allow the water to freeze. When taking your pets outside for walks and potty
breaks, it's a good idea to put a coat or sweater on short-haired or naturally
lean breeds. As silly as it may seem, it will keep your furry friend toasty
warm! It's also a good idea to wipe their paws after being outside so they
cannot ingest any de-icing salts, which can be toxic.
-All the company that comes and goes during the holidays may be fun for us,
but it can be stressful for our pets. Make sure your pet has a safe place
where they can go to escape the commotion. There are also pheromone
sprays available that can help to naturally calm pets. These include Feliway
for cats and DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) and come in sprays, collars,
and a diffuser. These products can also be helpful when traveling with pets. If
you plan bring pets along when you travel, remember to keep them safe in a
carrier or kennel, and keep in mind that some state and most airlines require
a health certificate for travel.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us anytime. We wish
you and your pets a safe and happy holiday season from our entire staff at
Granite City Pet Hospital!