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Holiday Pet Dangers

Holidays are the most dangerous time of the year for our pets. The two greatest dangers are lost pets and pet poisoning.

Fall and Winter Holidays
With the fall and winter holidays come many new faces, guests and dog sitters. Each time guests enter your home pets are exposed to new levels of stress, both positive and negative. Many pets are locked away from the guests while others are allowed to roam freely among the visitors. Doors, gates and garages are opened and closed at a feverish rate during the holidays. The opportunity for your pet to get out and explore is surely at paw! After the 4th of July, the winter holidays are the number one time of the year that pets are usually lost. So take some extra holiday precautions;

Determine the Rules For the Season - If your pet is allowed to run free among the guests (which is only fair, its their house too!) make sure that you’re there to answer the door for every guest and introduce them to your pet. Also, you will want to be at the door every time it is open to be sure the pet does not escape.

Keep a Closer Eye on Your Pets - If you can normally trust your pet in the yard for a few moments, try NOT to do this during these holidays. There are more people and pets in the streets and yards and lots of great smells that pets naturally love to investigate! All it takes is a unfocused moment when you turn your head to greet someone and then it happens. Instead of a happy holiday, you have the opposite.

Tell The Guests, and Especially the Children, the Rules for Your Pet - what rooms they are or are not allowed, not to feed the pet scraps (if ten guests feed a 30 lb dog two scraps, you could have a very sick dog), and other rules of the house. Do not let children harass them.

Do Not Ignore Your Pet - With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, pets become stressed - this is a time for extra attention. Take time every hour to stop and say hello! Do not forget to walk them, let them out, feed them, and change the litter box or other daily routines.

Holiday Foods - Alcoholic beverages, candy, chocolate, turkey and fixings, pork, fish, chicken bones, are all hazards for pets. Never give your pet cooked bones. They can splinter when chewed and eventually puncture the intestinal tract. Bones purchased in grocery and pet stores are a safe substitute. Never give your pet chocolate. It is highly toxic to animals -- causing stomach cramps, constipation or diarrhea. It’s best to keep your pet on its regular diet. It’s common to see dogs with both vomiting and/or diarrhea right after Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some can be seriously ill. Another food related hazard is the plastic six-pack beverage holders; kittens especially can become entangled in them. Remember to cut them up before putting into the garbage. This will also help the wildlife at the landfills too (especially birds).

Holiday Paraphernalia - Electric cords, tinsel, glass ornaments, candles, spray on-snow (some are non-toxic-read the label), ribbons, plastic or foil wrapping, etc. can be dangerous to your pet. Cover up or hide electric cords, never let your pet chew on them. Do not tie ribbons around pet’s necks or limbs. Watch out for rubber bands too.

Do Not Try to Make Your Pet Vomit - Many times this can make the situation worse, as some poisons actually cause as much damage coming up as they do going down. Call your local emergency hospital for instructions on immediate care. If you know what your pet ingested, take a sample of it to the veterinarian to help determine proper treatment.


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