Holiday Pet Safety

As you prepare for the celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s important to keep in mind that the holiday season can present risks our furry companions. Below are tips to keep them safe.

Keep your pets out of the kitchen during festive occasions, as it’s too easy for pets to get into trouble while you’re busy with cooking tasks and visitors. Grease or hot dishes can get spilled on pets that get underfoot, resulting in potentially serious burns. Pets can ingest fallen food scraps or pills that are toxic to them. Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and food packaging can smell as tasty as the foods they once protected and swallowing any of these can give your pet a dangerous intestinal obstruction.

Be careful what you feed your pets. Avoid turkey skin and bones, gravy, grapes and raisins, nuts, sides and sweets, and alcohol. Turkey skin contains too many oils and spices. Bones can break into pieces which can irritate the stomach or intestines or lodge in the esophagus. Gravy is fatty and can cause pancreatitis. Nuts are a choking hazard and can contain toxins. Sides and desserts often contain toxic ingredients such as Allium species (onions, garlic, chives, and leeks), raisins and grapes, or chocolate. In addition, sugar can cause vomiting and the empty calories can lead to obesity. A small amount of alcohol can cause disorientation or even death.

Be moderate with any people treats that you give your pets. While there are numerous fruits and vegetables that are safe to eat such as cranberries, carrots, green beans, peas, pumpkin, and cooked sweet potato, new foods can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you want to treat your pets to turkey, peel the skin off and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces to minimize the risk of an upset stomach.

Supervise your pets around decorations. Stagnant tree water can cause nausea or diarrhea if drunk, while confetti, tinsel, and wrapping paper can become lodged in the digestive tract if consumed. Fairy lights, if chewed, can lead to burns and electrocution. Candles flames can burn curious noses and playful paws. There’s also the risk of candles falling when brushed against. Snow globes often contain anti-freeze; a small sip can be fatal. Salt dough ornaments, with their large amounts of salt, can be equally fatal. Holly, ivy, mistletoe, and poinsettias might cause an upset stomach; lilies are lethal.

Set your pets up for success with visitors. Provide your pets with a safe space, play soft music to help calm them, and give them toys and puzzles to keep them entertained. This will eliminate door dashing and the potential of your pets being stepped on. Once your guests have settled, you might ask them to play with or do tricks with your pets to keep them entertained. Stick to a regular schedule for meals and exercise and ensure fresh water is available.

Lincoln Pet Culture wishes you a happy and safe holiday season. I appreciate your readership over the past years. Stay tuned for an announcement about the new year.

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