Pets & the Holidays

Pet Expert Cheryl Hansen joined us today to talk about pets and theholidays.

Pets as gifts.   Choosing a new pet is an important decision and should include the entire family in a thoughtful process.  
o Avoid giving a pet as a gift and instead create an adoption gift basket with toys, leashes, a bed, treats, supplies needed when a new pet comes home. 
o Include a gift certificate from a local shelter and take time to select a new pet AFTER the chaos of the holiday season. 
o Introducing a new pet into the home requires a calm environment and a routine….not the stress that accompanies the holidays.

Holiday trees are a temptation, plain and simple.  Here are some ideas to preserve your tree while keeping your pets safe:
o Anchor your tree securely
o Keep breakable ornaments out of reach
o No edible decorations
o Tinsel and garland spell trouble
o Pine needles need to be removed
o Prevent pet from drinking tree water
o Watch out for ribbon or yarn on packages
Holiday plants.  Typically we decorate our homes during the holidays with plants not used the rest of the year.  Avoid these to keep your pet safe.
o Poinsettias
o Mistletoe
o Holly
o Ivy
o Amaryllis
o Hibiscus
Additional information about toxic plants and foods can be found at aspca.org.

 

Other décor such as candles and potpourri can also be hazardous to your pet.

Food.  When we think of foods that are a health concern for pets, most of us know not to feed our dogs grapes, raisins, dark chocolate or almonds but here are a few additional food-related issues that might impact your pet’s health.
o Beware of the string used to truss the turkey or foil used to cover leftovers.
o Onions, coffee beans and grounds, and alcoholic beverages are dangerous 
o Secure all leftovers and garbage against counter surfing and can raiding.
If your pet suffers gastric distress from eating too much people food (not of the toxic variety), try removing food for 24 hours, then returning to feed white rice and eggs or boiled chicken.  Also baby food or pumpkin can help with doggie gastric distress.  If the problem persists, see your vet.
 
Stress.  The holiday season can be stressful for everyone in the family, including your pets.  With a disrupted routine and constant parade of new people, your dog or cat may need a quiet place all her own to relax and de-stress.  Provide a quiet, dark room with plenty of water and a soft bed. 
o Other suggestions about dealing with holiday stress for your pets:
o Let guests know about treat types and limits
o Watch the doors!  Escape is easy with so many people coming and going.
o Update your dog or cat’s identification in case they bolt.
o Keep Aunt Mary’s meds out of reach just as you would wit
 

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