As the big week of celebrations approaches, here are some quick tips to keep your pet family members safe and healthy during the winter holidays.
- If the weather turns nasty and you need to use salt and de-icing materials, remember that they can get into your pet’s paws and onto their stomachs as they climb over snow mounds. Wipe their paws and tummies with a damp rag. Antifreeze tastes sweet to dogs and cats so mop up any spills and bottle drips.
- We find tree ornaments fun to look at and pets absolutely adore them, but metal, glass, ribbons, styrofoam and tinsel can cause serious medical emergencies for your pet. So can artificial snow and the snow in snow globes. Ditto for holiday wrappings that get thrown around and fall everywhere. These can be a hazard for little kids, too.
- We may want our homes to look festive, but ivy, holly, mistletoe, lilies, poinsettia, and some Christmas greens can be toxic to pets if they nibble on them. Christmas tree water with tree preservative can be attractive to thirsty pets — and harmful, too.
- The holidays are a time to welcome visitors into your home. Too much activity and too many people can frighten your pets — and sometimes cause them to run away. Consider putting them in a room away from the roaring crowd and make certain they are wearing collars with current tags.
- Oh how we love to feast on our holiday treats! So do our pets. My Golden Retriever, Rufus, was carbo-dog and adored desserts. Spike, my pug, given his druthers, would eat anything, anytime, anywhere. Some foods can be harmful and cause GI or choking problems. Chocolate that is so prevalent in holiday treats can be quite harmful to our pets. We truly love out animals, but giving them table scraps is not a good way to show it. And — if you don’t want the leftovers, send them home with visitors or toss them– don’t feed them to the dog — not all of them are healthy for animals.