Let’s Not Forget These Good Boys and Girls

The decorations are up, the gifts are wrapped, and sweets are out for everyone to enjoy. The holidays are here and as you check your list, make sure not to forget your pets.

“The holidays are a fun, though often a very stressful time of year, for us & our beloved family members,” says Sacramento Veterinarian, Dr. Kristi Kelly. “Animal lovers expect their canine, feline, and/or other furry, feathered, scaled family members to actively participate in a wide variety of family traditions.  Unfortunately, this important inclusion can create unexpected moments of tension or even risks for our precious friends.”

Keeping your pets safe during the holidays can be a difficult task. There are the ornaments, plants, gifts, lights, and foods that can present a problem.  However, taking some simple steps will allow your pets to join in the holiday fun, while avoiding any trips to the animal emergency room.

  • Place your Christmas tree in a corner and securely anchored so it doesn’t fall and injury your pet.
  • If you have a live tree, place a tree skirt around the base. This will prevent your pet from drinking the water, which may contain fertilizers or bacteria that could lead to illness.
  • Keep tinsel out of your pet’s reach. Our feline friends particularily like this décor. However, ingesting tinsel can potentially block their intestines, which is generally only remedied through surgical means.
  • Do not put lights on the tree’s lower branches. Faulty wiring can deliver electrical shock that can cause burns or be fatal.
  • Also, do not put ornaments on the tree’s lower branches. Breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth, digestive tract, and even their paws. In extreme cases, an ornament can cause choking or intestinal blockage.
  • Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs and cats. When ingested, they can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested.
  • Chocolate or candies sweetened with xylitol can make your pet sick. So keep pets away from the table and unattended plates of food. Otherwise, your pet could become ill even resulting in death.

So what happens if your pet accidentally falls victim to unfortunate circumstances? Dr. Kelly recommends being a proactive pet parent. “Proactive pet parents can post in a public place, as well as save on their smart phone contact numbers to their local veterinarian’s office, the closest veterinary emergency room, and the pet poison control hotline.” She says that, “Amidst the holiday chaos, heightened awareness and supervision is strongly encouraged to help all family members continue to enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season. “

So what should you put in your pet’s stocking? Stick with chew toys, healthy foods, or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Surprise your kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow.

Keeping your home pet-friendly during this festive season, will make the holidays fun, while avoiding any trips to the animal emergency room.

Get more great pet safety tips by visiting ASPCA and have a happy holiday season!

Robb Mayberry

Robb Mayberry is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. He has assisted in the response and recovery efforts with some of California’s worst disasters, including the San Refugio Oil Spill, the Valley and Butte Wildfires, Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, Erskine Fire, and the Winters Storms of 2017. Prior to public service, he spent 25 years managing the public and media relations for some of Northern California’s largest healthcare organizations.

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