The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas always seem to fly by, don’t they? We’re just cleaning up the turkey and stuffing and then turning around to put out cookies and milk for Santa. But with pets around, we have to be careful about our holiday traditions so we can spend time with family and loved ones, not at the pet emergency room.
We’re often preoccupied with entertaining guests in our homes during this time of year, in which case no one’s keeping a vigilant eye on Fido. Bored from lack of attention, the dog might get himself tangled up in Christmas tree tinsel, garland, wrapping paper, or decorations.
Similarly, for folks with live Christmas trees (and poinsettias) that might have had life-extending preservatives added, don’t let the dog drink the water out of the tree base or eat the leaves. Or maybe you have the type of dog who won’t stand for this “no attention” nonsense and will insist on pawing at the guests until they pet his head or scratch him behind the ears. In this case, a Kong (found at all pet stores) stuffed with treats will keep him occupied indefinitely. If he won’t calm down or leave the guests alone, he might need to be relocated to an upstairs bedroom and checked on every now and then, but again, keep him busy with a toy or chewy bone.
And what would the holidays be without fun, tasty treats like chocolates, nuts, and alcohol? These items are toxic to dogs if eaten (or drunk) and should be kept way out of reach. To a dog, anything on a human plate looks light years better than the mush in his dog bowl. Make sure his dish is filled with his favorite foods (maybe this means boiling him some chicken and mixing it in with his regular food) so as to keep him less excited about what you’re eating. On that note, make sure guests (especially children) aren’t throwing him scraps of table food (those soulful eyes have a way of softening even the hardest of hearts). Pancreatitis, caused by too much food consumption, is a very serious and potentially fatal inflammatory condition.
If your pet does accidentally take in something he shouldn’t have, keep the National Animal Poison Control Center toll-free phone number nearby: 1-888-4ANI-HELP (1-888-426-4435). If the unthinkable happens and your pet does need an emergency vet visit, here is some information on Philadelphia emergency service centers.
Many people will be traveling for the holiday weekend and might be taking their fur babies along for the ride. Driving is much less stressful for dogs, and keeping them in a crate might not look the most comfortable for them, but it’s definitely the safest. Just be sure to stop frequently for the dog to stretch his legs and use the…facilities.
There are a number of calamities that dogs and cats alike can get into during holiday parties and events, but that’s to be expected and therefore prevented. Responsible owners need to treat this day like any other to ensure they — and their pets! — have the best holidays possible.
For the complete list of tips referenced in this article, click here, and check out CBS Philly’s article on holiday safety tips for pets.
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