Holiday Time Considerations

by Tristan Clark, DVM

The holidays are nearly here and with them come cooler weather and the busy schedules of visiting friends and family. Often this season brings changes to your home, many of which can potentially be harmful to your pets. Keep some of the following in mind as you finalize your plans to ensure that your furry loved ones remain happy and safe through the winter!

The colder weather can play a part in changing where your dog or cat chooses to rest. Take care to ensure your smaller pets aren’t hiding under the covers before you jump on the bed or couch. Double check the dryer for any warmth-seeking nappers before turning it on for the next load and keep a safety screen up in front of the fireplace when lit. Burning candles can be knocked over by a running cat or wagging dog tail so ensure they’re out of reach. Also, be aware that outdoor cats may heat seek by curling up under a car hood – a situation that could be deadly once the engine is turned on.  A firm knock on the car hood helps alert them it is time to jump out of the vehicle.

My favorite part of the holidays is all the wonderful food but many of these items could spell disaster in the stomach of a pet. Chocolate is always a no-no and tends to be more prevalent in the house during this time of year. Alcoholic beverages can be very potent to those with a smaller body mass. Many holiday dinners include fatty foods such as eggnog, cheese logs, ham, prime rib or gravy. These all have a very good chance of causing vomiting and diarrhea, a surprise that nobody wants on December 25th!

The Christmas tree may be the star decoration of your holiday home but be aware of the extra dangers it may bring. Tree water might be full of stomach-churning fertilizers and breed bacteria. Ensure fresh water is always nearby for your pets to drink instead. Electrical cords should be hidden or covered as chewing them can result in a nasty shock. Ornaments and tinsel can cause problems if ingested. And as always, ensure the tree is good and steady as it can be tipped over quite easily by a curious climbing kitty or two.

Enjoy your holiday this year but keep an eye our ahead of time for these potential dangers!