Pet Holiday Safety



Photo courtesy of Animal Fair

Jessica Gavin, Contributing Editor

With the winter season fast approaching, many holiday enthusiasts are excited to welcome home family members from distant locations with large, boisterous gatherings. Although these events are fun-filled for humans, it’s not uncommon for pets to be overlooked during holiday festivities.

Thanksgiving is just the beginning of the chilly holiday season. For some pet owners, this poses no problem, but for others, their animals may not be perfectly equipped for handling holiday crowds or activities. Large parties with unfamiliar people can scare or overwhelm even the friendliest of pets. Additionally, some guests may try to feed pets on this holiday of feasting, which can be a major health concern. Aside from pre-existing allergies, some holiday foods are not safe for pets to ingest.

Alcohol, chocolate, macadamia nuts, and xylitol (a common artificial sweetener) are just some of the popular holiday consumables that can be detrimental to animals’ health. Cooked turkey bones are also commonly considered a great treat for dogs, but in reality, the softened bones can splinter and contain unwanted amounts of fat. Human food and beverages should be kept out of reach. If guests want to give treats to pets, safer alternatives can include specialized dog cookies, apple slices, carrots or cucumbers.

For those who have concerns regarding their pet’s holiday experience, there are several solutions to consider. Sometimes the best option is to avoid strange guests and situations altogether, depending on the pet. Pets can be contained to a pet proof room within the house with check-ups during the day, or kept at a different location such as a kennel. These options work for some pets who are less energetic or can be distracted for long periods of time, but some pets are too anxious. These pets can be given Happy Traveler or another homeopathic calming agent to prevent stress.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, Christmas season begins. Christmas poses entirely new problems for pets. Typical Christmas decorations can be hazardous or poisonous to furry friends. Christmas trees can be knocked over by pets, and ornaments and tinsel can be dangerous if ingested. Additionally, common plants such as holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are poisonous. Pet owners should be conscious of these hazards and take care to prevent any problems to the best of their ability.

Another common holiday hit takes place several days later, on New Year’s. Fireworks scare many dogs that think the sound is thunder. Pets can be contained and treated with Rescue Remedy or a ThunderShirt, but owners should make sure their pets are microchipped in case they flee. Some of the busiest days at shelters come after holidays that are celebrated with fireworks.

With all of the upcoming exciting chaos of the nearing holiday season, be sure to keep furry friends in mind!