The holiday season is here, and we all know how hectic things get around this time of the year. If celebrating with furry friends, you might want to take precautions to keep them happy and healthy. Here’s just a few words of advice on animal health, holiday hazards, and maintaining pet safety.
Be mindful of your pets’ diet
When your loved ones gather around the dinner table, it can be difficult to keep the family dog away. But sharing people food with pets is usually a bad idea, especially around the holidays:
Even if the food isn’t fatty or spicy, table scraps can cause a whole host of problems in animals. Raisins can lead to kidney failure, roasted nuts to muscle shakes, onion and garlic to anemia…
Turkey season is behind us, thankfully, but you still shouldn’t feed your pets turkey skin or fat trimmings. This can put them at risk of pancreatitis, a very serious health condition.
Your pet might have a sweet tooth, but many sweets are actually toxic to them. Even plain old baking chocolate contains theobromine, which can result in vomiting or heart problems. And xylitol, a common artificial sweetener, affects them with seizures or liver failure.
Finally, a naughty pup might try to get a taste of your unattended drink, which shouldn’t be allowed. Alcohol affects us all the same way, but the body mass of pets is much smaller than ours. It’s easier for them to get plastered or end up with permanent liver damage.
Watch out for holiday decorations
Every cat owner knows how hard it can be to keep one off a Christmas tree, but that’s not the only pet safety hazard to worry about.
Some pets will try to chew on holly and mistletoe, which invariably causes digestive issues. Instead of this classic natural decoration, you could opt for an artificial brand made of chewable plastic.
Potpourri attracts curious cats, as well as some dogs. Ingesting or even sniffing around it can result in corrosive burns or allergic reactions. Some versions are non-toxic, but you might want to keep it out of animal reach anyway.
Bits of tinsel or ribbon are often swallowed by pets who don’t know any better. While it’s not poisonous, the ornamentation can disrupt the digestive tract, possibly even with a fatal outcome.
Electric lights and candles can be a fire hazard even without enterprising paws and claws at work. Prevent painful burns and shocks using tape or protective casing.
Respect your pets’ peace of mind
Few things are as enjoyable as sharing holiday cheer with family, friends, and pets. But it can also be a stressful time of the year for people and animals alike.
Some pets may be perfectly friendly around the people they know, but still get agitated in a crowd. If the kitty doesn’t like guests, give her some room – she might come around eventually. Never force an anxious animal to spend time in a crowded space, especially in the presence of strangers.
Christmas crackers, fireworks, and other sources of loud noise might be difficult for pets to deal with. Try to secure a room for them to retreat into once the noise becomes too much to handle. If you can sound-proof the area, great. If not, just be patient and offer reassurance to the animal.
At family gatherings, animals are sometimes introduced to other animals with little or no preparation. Since both are stressed out, this rarely turns out well. If the close encounter is unavoidable, make sure the owners are at hand to sooth their respective pet’s nerves. Separate safe space might need to be secured for both animals.
Holiday travel and pet safety
Moving around with pets is always a chore, doubly so around the winter holidays. Buying presents, booking flights, monitoring weather reports, wrangling excited children (furry or otherwise)… it’s a lot to handle. Once it gets overwhelming, you might look for a boarding service to take your precious pup off your hands for the holiday.
Of course, you can always let professionals handle the pet transport for you. At CitizenShipper, you’ll browse through a selection of experienced drivers until you find one that fits your needs. Whether you own a dog, a cat, or a more exotic type of pet, you’ll want someone both reliable and trustworthy. They’ll get your four-legged buddy to your holiday destination – and back again if need be!