The holidays present unique dangers to our pets that can cause them distress, injury, or make them ill. To help keep the holidays merry and bright, our animal hospital in Callaway has come up with holiday pet safety tips for cats, dogs, and our exotic pets, too!
Food and Decorating Safety Tips
Our cats and dogs are curious creatures who often take a keen interest in our decorations and food. And our exotic pets can be stressed by all the festivities, too! Our tips can help spread the good cheer all around:
- Secure the Christmas tree by anchoring it to the floor or tying it with fishing line to the ceiling or a doorframe to keep any overly interested pets from knocking it over.
- If you have a real tree, deter your pet from drinking the water at its base. It could contain harmful chemicals that will make them sick!
- Avoid decorating your tree with tinsel. This dangly, sparkling decoration is irresistible to our feline friends and our birds, too. Yet, playing with and nibbling it could cause them to ingest it, which will result in a dangerous gastrointestinal obstruction.
- Make sure pets don’t have access to any electrical wires or lights. Rabbits, especially, are notorious for being compulsive chewers! If your pet chews these and they get through the coating, it could cause a burn or electric shock.
- Place easily breakable ornaments up high on your tree so your pet can’t knock them off. Breakable ornaments could mean damaged paws or even gastrointestinal obstructions if any piece is ingested.
- Hang the holly and mistletoe way up on high! Both of these plants are toxic to cats, dogs, and some exotic pets if ingested. Be wary, too, of other festive plants that are poisonous including amaryllis, daffodils, cyclamen, Jerusalem cherry, and lilies. Poinsettias are only mildly toxic.
- Keep the human food on your plates! Many of the foods we enjoy are dangerous for our pets. In particular, fatty meats, turkey skin, bones, onions, grapes/raisins, chocolate, and xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in some baked goods and candies) can all cause serious issues for our cats and dogs, and shouldn’t be shared with any of our exotic pets either.
Keeping Pets and Guests Happy & Healthy
We all love our own pets, but some guests can be a little leery of them, especially if they’re a species that makes them uncomfortable. Additionally, guests can make our pets stressed and uncomfortable, too! Here are some tips to keep the peace through all your holiday parties:
- Be sure to inform all your guests about your pet when you’re inviting them to your party. Ask about allergies and any other concerns they may have. If anyone is uncomfortable with your pet, it may be best to keep them in a back room so your guests and your pet can relax.
- Always supervise your pet around your guests (and your decorations for that matter!). Even if your pet is in their enclosure, make sure guests know not to rap on the windows or stick their fingers through the bars.
- Make any interactions between your pet and guests smooth and stress-free. For exotic pets, it may be best to only have one or two other people handle them at a time, and always be aware of your pet’s attitude and body language. If they seem stressed, place them back in their enclose and leave them be! For cats and dogs, make sure they have a place to retreat to if they need a break.
Looking for more holiday pet safety tips or have any questions? Contact our animal hospital at (301) 994-9919 or ask your veterinarian at your next appointment!