According to the NAVC’s recent Voice of the Veterinary Community study, helping animals on a daily basis is what veterinary professionals cite as their favorite part of their job (77%), followed by doing meaningful and purposeful work (65%). But on the flip side,...
This holiday season, it’s important that we keep our pets’ safety in mind! To that end, we’ve compiled advice from some of the industry’s top veterinarians around the country on how to keep your pets safe and healthy this holiday!
How to keep your pet safe during the holidays
1. Avoid Decorating With Tinsel and Ribbons
- Our cats have a particular penchant for bits of ribbon and tinsel. Cats tend to ingest these foreign objects, which then get stuck in their intestines and require expensive surgery. Be sure to avoid using tinsel to decorate the Christmas tree and to clean up after gift wrapping (especially after Christmas morning). The last thing you want to do is rush your cat to the hospital!
2. Lock Up The “Mary-Jane”
- Pets should not be able to access any drugs. THC-laced edibles should be kept far away and in an inaccessible place for pets. If they smell delicious to you, they smell delicious to them too!
3. Avoid Decorating With Mistletoe and Poinsettias
- Both plants are poisonous to pets! Poinsettias are irritants to pets.
4. Reduce Anxiety
- The holidays can mean a slew of new house guests and loud noises, which can scare your pets. Instead of forcing pets to be in these new and sometimes scary settings, give pets a quiet place to stay during visits. Introduce pets if they are willing and adventurous. Make sure to explain to any visiting children how exactly to pet a dog or a cat so as not to hurt your pet.
5. Don’t Let Them Get Into The Sweets
- “Holiday sweets and treats can also be dangerous if ingested. Raisins, macadamia nuts and chocolate can all be very toxic to pets. Dogs are more likely to gobble these up than cats. Some stocking stuffers like candy and gum contain xylitol which is very dangerous to pets. It can cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar which can cause seizures and long-term liver damage. If you suspect your pet has eaten any of these items, contact a veterinarian immediately,” said Dr. Stephanie Lantry, co-owner of Animal Medical Clinic of Gulf Gate in Sarasota, Florida.
6. Don’t Give Pets Aspirin
- As pet owners, it can be hard (and scary) to see our furry friends experiencing pain. You may be panic googling, “can you give a dog aspirin?” in the middle of the night, and you’re not wrong for doing that. We’re with you – we’d do anything to relieve our dog’s pain. However, aspirin can be dangerous for dogs. Contact your veterinarian for dog-safe alternatives.
7. Keep Chocolate Away From Pets
- Chocolate will be everywhere this holiday – whether you’re baking or just enjoying sweet treats and gifts. It’s important to make sure you keep it out of reach of your dog and your cat! Chocolate is toxic for both due to the presence of the chemical theobromine as well as caffeine. The amount of toxic theobromine varies with the type of chocolate and the size of your pet. As a general rule of thumb: the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to dogs and cats. So, while baking chocolate and dark chocolate are highly concentrated with 130-450 mg of theobromine per ounce and are very dangerous, milk chocolate only contains about 44-58 mg/ounce and white chocolate has only 0.25 mg of theobromine per ounce so they are considered less dangerous. However, again it all depends on the size of your dog and the amount and type they digest. As an example, a medium-sized dog weighing 50 pounds would only need to eat 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate, or 9 ounces of milk chocolate, to potentially show signs of poisoning.
8. Don’t Leave Cats Alone With Candles
- “Cats love to paw at moving objects like the flickering flame of decorative candles. They might suffer burns or cause fires if they knock over the candles while playing,” Dr. Jeff Werber warns. Keep a watchful eye anytime candles are lit.
9. Don’t Feed Pets Table Scraps
- We all love to indulge over the holidays but remember that your pets can’t process foods like we can. Feeding a pet fatty foods like mashed potatoes might result in the unintended consequence of pancreatitis, which is incredibly painful! It can also lead to unnecessary ER trips!
Now that you’ve read up on holiday hazards for pets, give Airvet a ring. We’ll be happy you called.
Note: This article is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice from a licensed DVM. If you have questions about giving your dog any medication at all, you should always speak with a licensed veterinarian. Talk to a vet now.
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