PET TALK WITH THE TURNER VET: Holiday tips to keep pets safe

By Rhonda Baillargeon, LVT

As the holidays approach, many families make plans to celebrate with their furry family members. While these celebrations are fun and exciting for us, they can be confusing and stressful for our pets. Here are a few suggestions to help make the holidays safe and enriching.

Deck the halls with pet safety in mind. Anchor your Christmas tree to prevent tipping and block access to the water pan to prevent your pet from drinking potentially toxic water. Avoid decorations that can break or be swallowed. This includes glass ornaments, strings of food (cranberries, popcorn), tinsel and lights, which can cause electrocution if bitten. A punctured battery from a battery operated ornament or decoration can cause thermal burns or an intestinal blockage. Avoid plants that can be poisonous to pets if eaten such as lilies, mistletoe, holly and the needles from the Christmas tree. Also keep candles, potpourris and scented oils out of reach of inquisitive pets to prevent accidental fires or mouth/tongue/skin injuries.
If you are planning to rock around the Christmas tree with friends and family, keep your furry family members in mind. Have a quiet place away from the hubbub where your pet can rest. If planning to travel with your pet, be sure to bring a supply of the food you feed and any medications with you. Also, remember that out of state or out of the country travel may require special health certificates. Be respectful and ask your host if your pets will be welcome in their home. Watch the exits to prevent an escape while guests are arriving and departing and be sure to clear away uneaten food to avoid theft from the table or countertop.
Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas with special treats? Remember to skip the sweets for your pet. Chocolate and alcohol are not good for your pet and leftovers should be avoided to reduce the risk of illness. Select special pet-friendly treats for your pet to be safe.
Finally, silver bells may sound beautiful in the season but many pets are afraid of loud noises. Be cautious with Christmas crackers, poppers and fireworks to protect sensitive ears and avoid destruction due to these loud sounds.
Be safe and have a holly, jolly holiday season from all of us at Turner Veterinary Service!