Holiday Pet Tips from a Veterinarian

Since the advent of COVID-19, people around the Earth have been unable to host or attend in-person gatherings or parties. As the situation is becoming normal again, and the winter holidays are just around the corner, people will be hosting parties, holiday dinners, and gatherings everywhere.

Not only us but also our pet friends would not like to spend these merry and cheerful evenings in a veterinary clinic instead of all the fun at home. It is also essential to regularly visit veterinary centers for a wellness exam for dogs and other pets so that you can monitor their health and be aware of any special conditions they might have.

Some essential tips to prevent an emergency visit to the vet during the holidays are listed below.

Tips for keeping your pets healthy during the Holidays

goldendoodle in yard

Feeding Habits

Any kind of festivity must have delicious foods and drinks, but don’t let them end up in the stomach of your four-legged friend. Human food is not always good for them, especially rich, greasy foods and sweets.

Don’t let the festive meal change the food habit of your pet, even if it’s just for an evening. The most common reason for diarrhea and upset stomach in pets is the consumption of human food. So, avoid it. If you really want to treat your pet with something special, then there are pet-safe foods available in stores that are healthy for your pet to eat and enjoy.

The list of foods to be avoided feeding to pets are:

  1. Sweets and Baked Foods: Sweets and Baked items might be tasty for humans, but they are very harmful to your pets. The artificial sweeteners found in sweet items are not healthy for them. Yeast dough can cause gas problems and excessive bloating, sometimes rupturing the stomach, which is life-threatening.

Things like gum, candies, or even soft drinks can upset their stomach. Xylitol, a food sweetener present in candies and many sweets, can lead to liver failure, hypoglycemia, and even death, especially in dogs.

If you want to treat your furry friends with sweets like cakes or cookies, always make sure they are made with the right ingredients in a pet bakery, with a veterinary-approved recipe.

  1. Chocolates: Although it is one of the most important parts of holiday celebrations, chocolate is toxic for pets and must never be brought near them. Theobromine, a stimulant in chocolates, can lead to diarrhea and vomiting even in small doses, and the condition might escalate quickly, causing muscle spasms, seizures, and eventually heart failure.

If you suspect your pet to have consumed chocolate, even a tiny bit, please rush to the nearest vet ASAP.

  1. Meats: Holiday dinners usually contain meats like Ham, Turkey, or Bacon. They are harmful to our pets since they are prepared with oil, onion, butter, garlic, etc. Rich foods can make your pet ill, and onions, garlic, grapes, and raisins are toxic for dogs.

Turkey meat or skin contains a lot of fat and can cause health issues to pets, even in small amounts, often leading to a life-threatening illness called Pancreatitis. Also, the leftover bones should not be given to the pets because they are not used to having such things in their regular diet, and the sharp bones can injure their GI tract or stomach.

If your pet is a meat lover, their meal should be prepared with safe ingredients and a vet-approved recipe.

  1. Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages can be toxic for animals and should never be allowed to enter their body. It can lead to a drop in blood sugar, pressure, and body temperature. Fermented alcohol contains yeast which can cause bloating and severe internal injury.
  2. Leftovers, Table scraps, and Trash bins: Table scraps might contain rich and fatty gravy, meat pieces or sweets, and should be cleaned to avoid your pet trying to get a taste. It would otherwise have the same effect as serving sweets or meats to your dog directly.

The leftovers after a meal should not be given to pets, especially dogs or cats. The guests should also be instructed the same. The leftovers should be appropriately disposed of in a trash bin, and the trash bag should be removed after the celebration. This is to cancel the risk of your pets chewing through all their mouth-watering food in the trash.

Dog Resting

Holiday Decorations

A festive evening is incomplete without the lights, ribbons, ornaments, and plants (or Christmas trees in Christmas). But did you know about the threats it could pose to the pets in the house? Animals usually have a nature to chew everything they find around them.

The ornaments which should be kept away from them are:

  1. Electric Lights: Due to their chewing nature, curious pets might chew the electrical wires used for lighting, causing severe burns or even death. The cables should thus be kept out of reach from the pets.
  2. Ornaments and holiday decorations: They can be hazardous if your pet tries to chew them, as they can easily break, and the shards can injure the food tract of the animal. They can also choke on some small decorations, or an ingested piece can block their intestines. Homemade ornaments from salted dough can be toxic for them too.

Cats are heavily attracted to strings and ribbons and must be kept out of reach from them; otherwise, it can end up inside their stomach, causing serious trouble.

  1. Christmas trees: are a must for Christmas, but they pose a risk of tipping over and falling if your pet tries to climb them. This can result in broken ornaments all over the floor, which an animal can chew upon, causing severe health issues. Secure the Christmas tree with the ceiling or doorframe using a fishing line.

Water additives for Christmas trees containing aspirin, sugar, or other items should be avoided if a pet is in your house.

  1. Candles: These should never be let near your pet without supervision because it can cause burns to the animal or if your pet pushes it to something flammable, it can burn your house.
  2. Holiday plants and flowers: These are often used as decorations but can be poisonous for pets. Plants like Amaryllis, Mistletoe, Holly, Balsam, Pine, Cedar, Poinsettias, etc., should never be used if a pet is roaming around your house trying to chew everything. These plants are dangerous for your pets because they contain certain toxic substances which are hazardous for them.
  3. Potpourris: Decorative bowls containing potpourris or other essential oils can cause animals severe burns or skin injuries. They can damage the mouth, eyes, or skin of an animal if it comes in contact.

cat stretching on couch

Extra Tips for Keeping your pets safe:

  1. Prepare for Emergencies: Keep the emergency phone numbers saved on your mobile phones, like the vet’s number, the poison control’s number, veterinary hospital numbers, routes, etc. If you find something abnormal with your pet, then don’t hesitate to visit the nearest vet.
  2. Keep the main doors closed and ask your guests to do the same so that your pets don’t sneak outside the house or get lost.
  3. Keep a safe room inside your home for your pets during the parties so that if your pet is uncomfortable among all the guests and music, you can shift it to the room away from the commotion.
  4. Provide pet-safe chewable toys to your pets so that they can perform all the chewing on the toys and not the hazardous stuff.
  5. Unplug electric plugs and extinguish candles before going out of your home or going to bed.
  6. Clear any food leftovers on the floor or table and take out the garbage bag after the party is over.
  7. Attach identification tags and microchips to your pets from a vet clinic so that they can be traced back to you if your pet buddy gets lost.

brussels griffon

Final Note

Despite taking all the measures in the best possible way, your innocent four-legged friend often finds a way to get what it wants. If you notice your pet acting funny or abnormal, don’t hesitate for a moment to visit the family vet or the nearest pet clinic. Someone will always be there to help your pet in times of an Emergency.

We wish you and your furry friends a very Happy and Safe Holiday. Stay safe and enjoy the holidays with your close ones, and take good care of your pets.

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