The holiday excitement is in the air with the season upon us. Families love to include their pets with the many festivities and celebrations. We want you to remember your furry loved ones and keep them safe.

Safety Tips

Here are some safety tips for your animals over the holidays:

Care

  • Try to keep a normal routine for your pet’s exercise and feeding habits.
  • With your schedule getting busier, remember to take some time to give attention and affection to your pet.

Food

The American Veterinary Medical Association AVMA recommends to “keep people food away from pets. If you want to share holiday treats with your pets, make or buy treats formulated just for them. The following people foods are especially hazardous for pets:

  • Chocolate is an essential part of the holidays for many people, but it is toxic to dogs and cats. Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, it’s safer to consider all chocolate off limits for pets.
  • Other sweets and baked goods also should be kept out of reach. Not only are they often too rich for pets; an artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, candy and chewing gum, xylitol, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.
  • Turkey and turkey skin – sometimes even in small amounts – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.
  • Table scraps – including gravy and meat fat –also should be kept away from pets. Many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets, including onions, raisins and grapes. During the holidays, when our own diets tend toward extra-rich foods, table scraps can be especially fattening and hard for animals to digest and can cause pancreatitis.
  • Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating”.

Decorations

“Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations:

  • Oh, 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.
  • Avoid 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.
  • Tinsel-less Town: 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.
  • 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!
  • Wired Up: 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 and digestive tract,” reports the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Leaving the House

  • Don’t forget to unplug the decorations so pets will not be tempted to nibble on electrical cords.
  • Empty the trash so they will not eat something dangerous.

Happy holidays to you and your pets.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.