As you can tell by the music now playing in stores, the holiday season is here. Life is about to become a whole lot jollier—and a whole lot busier. To help you prepare your pet for a safe holiday season, our Town & Country Animal Hospital PC team offers you a fun way to keep your pet’s safety foremost in mind—by associating safety tips with popular holiday songs.
#1: 🎵Baby, it’s cold outside🎵—keep your pet warm
Although your pet has their own fur coat, that may not be enough to protect them from winter’s cold temperatures. When meteorologists forecast freeze warnings, rain, and snow, plan to keep your pet inside. Never leave your beloved companion outdoors for an extended time during extreme weather. Often-groomed pets or those who have naturally short coats may need an additional protective layer, such as a coat or a sweater, when heading outside during cold weather. In addition, to protect your pet’s paws from the slippery sidewalks and ice melter—which can dry out and damage paw pads—dress your pet in booties. Your pet may need time to adjust to wearing booties—and you will have a big belly laugh observing their dramatic initial antics. Remember, when the weather outside is frightful, nothing beats cuddling by the fire with your pet and listening to your favorite festive music.
#2: 🎵Rocking around the Christmas tree🎵—protect your pet from holiday decorations
Although holiday decorations make the season bright, remember to keep your pet’s safety in mind as you deck your halls this holiday season. Consider the following hazards:
- Christmas trees — Whether your Christmas tree is live or artificial, securely anchor them to prevent them from tipping and falling, possibly injuring your pet. If you have a live tree, ensure you cover and regularly change the stand’s water—which may contain preservatives, pesticides, and fertilizers that can harm your pet if they mistake the vessel for their water bowl.
- Tinsel — Cats view tinsel as a shiny toy. Unfortunately, if your cat ingests tinsel, the strands can block their intestines, causing decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and weight loss. To remove the ingested tinsel, your veterinarian will likely have to perform surgery on your sweet kitty. Skip the tinsel if you are worried your curious cat may inadvertently swallow the strands while playing with them, or place the tinsel high out of your feline friend’s reach.
- Mistletoe and holly — Holiday greenery, such as mistletoe and holly, are commonly used in centerpieces and floral arrangements. However, many popular holiday plants are toxic to pets. To prevent a potential pet poisoning, check out the ASPCA’s Poisonous Plant Guide to learn which plants are toxic for cats and dogs. Choose pet-safe plants for decorating, and keep any potentially harmful plants inaccessible to your furry pal. If your pet has ingested a toxic plant or is exhibiting toxicity signs, contact our team, or call the ASPCA Pet Poison Control Center.
- Christmas tree ornaments — Holiday decorations, especially round, glass ornaments are tempting toys your pet cannot ignore. Glass ornaments are particularly fragile and can easily break from a happy tail’s swipe or a snuffling nose’s nudge. If your pet munches a glass ornament, the shards can cut the inside of their mouth. If your pet swallows an ornament—glass or other material—they can experience a gastrointestinal blockage. Consider switching to shatter-proof ornaments, and placing all ornaments high on the tree—out of your pet’s reach.
- String lights and cords — Christmas tree lights and other plug-in decorations can be hazardous for pets. Your pet may view an electrical cord as a plaything. While you are preoccupied trying to hide light cords in the tree’s branches—often a losing battle—your pet is busy plotting how to investigate this tempting toy. If your pet chews an electric cord, frayed wires can burn and even electrocute them. To keep your pet safe, use short extension cords, taping them to the floor and wall. Remember to turn off the Christmas tree lights’ power when you are not able to supervise your pet.
#3: 🎵Run run Rudolph🎵—avoid a runaway pet
When you host a holiday party, guests are continuously coming in and going out the door, tempting your pet to bolt. To prevent your pet from running away, use a pet gate to block your furry pal’s door access, and monitor them closely when the door is open. The best way to ensure your pet is properly identified and to greatly improve the likelihood they will be returned to you if they go missing, microchip your beloved companion. If your pet is microchipped, ensure your contact information is up-to-date in the microchip registry. If your pet is not microchipped, schedule an appointment with our Town & Country Animal Hospital PC team to perform this quick procedure.
#4: 🎵Bring us some figgy pudding🎵—refrain from sharing food with your pet
Delicious foods are in abundance during the holidays. However, many of these mouthwatering dishes can be dangerous for your pet, and many holiday favorites contain toxic ingredients, or are too fatty for your furry pal to digest properly. Avoid sharing table scraps with your pet, and keep foods out of their reach. Clean up quickly after your meal, and—to prevent your pet from dumpster diving for leftovers—ensure your trash can is securely closed.
#5:🎵It’s the most wonderful time of the year🎵—happy holidays from our team!
We hope you and your family have a wonderful—and safe—holiday season. Remember, we are here for you and your pet if they get in trouble. Contact our Town & Country Animal Hospital PC team if your pet experiences a holiday emergency, or if you would like to schedule your beloved companion’s microchipping.
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