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Seasonal Pet Safety Tips in New England: What You Need to Know

seasonal-pet-safetyAs a pet owner, there are a lot of things that you need to know to help keep your animals safe. Whether you have cats, dogs, hamsters or birds, there are different things that you need to be on the look out each season that could be potentially harmful or hazardous to your pets. Seasonal pet tips are often available through our blog to help you with everything from a cat that wants to chew on holiday lights to a dog scared of loud noises and trick-or-treat goblins. Your local Dartmouth animal hospital can help you to prepare for these seasonal issues and help you know when to bring your pet into the local emergency veterinary hospital or what can help your pet feel better at home.

Top Holiday Hazards for New England Pets
The best thing to do is to learn all you can about the hazards that come with each season so you can protect your pet. After that, knowing what type of injuries or issues can require immediate medical attention can be very important, helping you to stay on top of minor problems before they become very serious. Here is a list of the top seasonal pet tips for fall and winter in the Southeastern Massachusetts area. Due to the drop in temperatures and all of the seasonal decorations, celebrations and habits of humans, our pets can be more at risk now than the rest of the year.

#1 – Decorations
From Halloween pumpkins and spooky black lights to Christmas and New Year’s lights and streamers, there are decorations that you need to keep your pets away from starting in October and all the way through the New Year. Many of the lights and ornaments that attract the attention of people also attract the attention of pets, particularly cats and dogs. Your local Dartmouth animal hospital sees many cases each year of incidents with decorations and pets. Shock and burns can occur if pets chew on electrical cords and other wiring. Use as many cord covers, cord organizers and outlet covers available to help keep pets safe. Tinsel, garland, ribbon, gift tags and other items commonly used this time of year can all cause an intestinal blockage if consumed, which could lead to surgery at your emergency veterinary hospital.

#2 – Chocolate
More than any other time of year, fall and winter are the seasons when people consume the most chocolate. Halloween candies, holiday candy displays at parties and cookie exchanges are all often laden with chocolate, which can be extremely dangerous – and even life threatening – to your dog or cat. Chocolate contains caffeine and a toxin that is known as theobromine. These both cause elevated heart rates in pets and other small animals, which can lead to high blood pressure, seizures and vomiting. If you suspect that your pet has consumed chocolate, contact your veterinarian right away.

#3 – Stress
During the holidays, we often have more visitors coming to our house than any other time of the year. Even if you aren’t hosting a party, just knocks on the door from package delivery companies, trick-or-treaters, carolers, family members and friends, can all be frightening to a cat or dog scared of loud noises and new people. One of the best seasonal pet tips is to create a safe space for your pet during this time of the year that is away from the front door and chaos. If you do host a party, create a comfortable environment for your pet to stay in during the gathering to prevent them from getting out of the house and keep them out of harm’s way.

#4 – Fireworks
For some reason, people generally want to celebrate holidays with fireworks. If you have family members or neighbors who like fireworks or even fire crackers during the fall and winter season, make sure to watch your pets for signs of fear and fearful behaviors. Dogs that get scared can become destructive, seeking a way “out” of the situation and away from the loud sounds. A dog scared of loud noises can even jump through glass windows, jump over gates and injure themselves in the process. Find a safe place for your pet during holiday celebrations of any kind, but also ask your Dartmouth animal hospital veterinarian about medications that can help a particularly frightened pet during this time.

#5 – Freezing Temps
If the northeastern states are known for anything, it is for our very cold and snowy winters. A pet that gets caught out in a snowstorm, either from being out in the backyard or getting loose from your home, such as a dog scared of loud noises or new situations, could be at risk for developing frostbite. Even pets that are walked out in wet snow by their owners, could end up with frostbite, which can lead to major irritation and damage of the skin. Wet snow is different from a dry powder. It can get between your dog’s toes and, especially with dogs that have longer fur, become packed and clumped. The best method is to bring your dog indoors and put their paws in warm – not hot – water, to allow the snow and ice to gently melt. Do not cut away the clumps. Prevent this from happening by keeping your pet indoors during wet, snowy weather or use dog booties during this time of year. Speak with your vet at Dartmouth animal hospital about other prevention methods and home treatments to avoid a trip to the emergency veterinary hospital.

#6 – Fireplaces and Stoves
Keeping warm during the winter is something that we all try to do. Wood stoves, fireplaces and other types of heaters are often used instead of or in addition to a forced air heating source. Unfortunately, if these options are not properly vented, they can emit a colorless, odorless and toxic gas known as carbon monoxide. This can be dangerous for people and pets, leading to symptoms such as lethargy, nausea, breathing difficulty and eventually unconsciousness. Consider getting wood stoves and fireplaces checked out prior to the cold season and install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Do not use these heating methods if your pets are home alone without you there to be alerted by the carbon monoxide detector, which will allow you to get them to safety.

Call Anchor Animal Hospital for More Tips
If you live in the South Coast area of New England, which encompasses Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Rhode Island, contact our Dartmouth animal hospital for all of your pet needs. We provide a wide variety of services, including regular check-ups, help with seasonal pet tips and we are also an emergency veterinary hospital that can provide treatments, surgeries, tests and more all right here and in-house. So if you have a pet that has been into the holiday decorations, a dog scared of loud noises or a cat that got stuck out in the cold, give us a call at 508-996-3731 to make an appointment or to speak with one of our veterinary professionals.