A little common sense goes a long way toward keeping cats safe during the holidays, but some holiday hazards take even the most seasoned cat parent by surprise. I thought it couldn’t hurt to review safety measures to protect your cats from harm so everyone can have a safe and happy holiday season.Continue Reading
Ever year this time of year, we hear how dangerous poinsettias are for cats. While they contain a milky sap that can cause digestive upset, such as vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhea, there are other holiday hazards that are far more dangerous.Continue Reading
Guest Post by Diana Guerrero
Do you give in to cute pesky pets at the dinner table? This Thanksgiving holiday pet lovers are urged to resist the intense gazes and vocal demands of pleading pets to keep them safe. Learn about the seven biggest risks to pets on Thanksgiving.
There can be deadly consequences for animals during the holidays. Holiday threats to animals can include seasonal decorations, ornamental lighting, ingestion of inappropriate or toxic items, excessive consumption of rich foods or harmful food, candle flames, and many other hazards.
Before you sit down to feast, take away temptation–from both guests and pets. If you feed pets before the guests arrive you reduce the temptation for begging and stealing. You can also use a pet gate or play pen to house the pet nearby, but provide a safety barrier.
One of the easiest ways to avoid trouble is to make sure your guests know the pet rules and discourage them from feeding critters scraps from the table. The best approach is to make sure any animal is occupied with a chewy or playmates in another room. Once the table is cleared, make sure pets cannot get to scraps or bones.
The biggest hazards to pets on Thanksgiving include:
- Rich, fatty foods (turkey skins, gravy, etc,) can contribute to pancreatitis. This gland inflammation is painful and can be serious-requiring emergency veterinary assistance.
- Cooked bones can splinter and cause tears or obstruction in a pet’s digestive tract.
- Baking strings, if ingested, can create trouble if ingested by your pet.
- Onions in holiday stuffing can lead to canine anemia if consumed by your dog.
- Grapes and raisin toxins can cause kidney failure in pets.
- Ingesting chocolate can cause seizures or kill your pet.
- Caffeine and alcohol are also toxic for pets.
The solution? Keep all goodies out of reach!
Preventative safety measures are the best strategies so store leftover food out of reach and in tightly closed containers. Next, make sure garbage cans are secured to keep critters out.
What can you do instead?
Pet households should consider providing appropriate chew toys or food occupation devices for pets during the holiday activities. The Kong Company produces great products and there is a goodie dispenser that keeps dogs occupied which is purr-fect. Look for great bird and cat toys that provide similar activity as most pet stores carry these products.
The investment and preparation can insure that you and your pets have a happy and healthy holiday. Finally, just in case you have a problem, it never hurts to keep your emergency vet clinic or veterinary hospital number handy. You never know when you will encounter a disaster during holiday festivities.
Diana L Guerrero is an animal expert with over 30 years of experience with both wild and domestic animals. Based in California, the Ark Lady runs multiple websites and works as a pet parenting coach, freelance writer, and professional speaker. Guerrero is often featured in the media as a pet expert and is the author of What Animals Can Teach Us about Spirituality: Inspiring Lessons of Wild & Tame Creatures and Blessing of the Animals: Prayers & Other Ceremonies Celebrating Pets & Other Creatures.
It’s that time of year again! As you get ready to celebrate the holidays, keep in mind that some of our most cherished holiday traditions can be hazardous for our pets. The ASPCA offers the following holiday safety tips:
Try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. And be sure to steer them clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations:
O Christmas Tree
Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water-which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset-from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
No Feasting for the Furries
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe. Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer-and tons of play sessions together.
Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
Leave the LeftoversFatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
That Holiday Glow
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.
House RulesIf your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
Put the Meds AwayMake sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
Careful with Cocktails
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
A Room of Their Own
Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to-complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
New Year’s Noise
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.