Dartmouth Vet Hospital Holiday Pet Safety Tips for Pet Owners

holiday pet safety tips during the winterMany people consider their pets to be members of the family, and they include their pets in all sorts of family activities, including holiday planning and celebrations. Even though many people across the country will be celebrating the holidays in a slightly different way this year, there will still be plenty of opportunities for pets to get in trouble if they get too nosy. Your pet’s primary care veterinarian in Southeastern Massachusetts would like you to be as prepared as possible in the event of an emergency. A trip to the Dartmouth emergency vet is unnecessary if you follow these winter care tips for small pets, cats, dogs, and other common household pets. More helpful information for pet owners in New Bedford and the rest of the Southcoast can be found in our website’s blog.

Holiday Treats and Dangerous Eats

Everyone goes on a diet after the holidays because they overindulged on the delicious sweet, savory, and indulgent foods that are a hallmark of this season. Sugar cookies, smoked meats, fried foods, and seasonal desserts are not only delicious, but also highly sought after by our furry friends during the holiday season. Unfortunately, the same is true for our pets; those foods aren’t good for them and they aren’t good for us. To avoid giving in to temptation and sharing a holiday treat with your pet, stock up on some healthy dog or cat treats. When having guests over, make sure they know it’s fine to feed your pet and put food in a high, inaccessible place. Find out what you should avoid feeding your pet, such as chocolate, grapes/raisins, xylitol sweetener, onions, and more. If you notice any unusual symptoms, contact our Dartmouth emergency vet right away.

Shiny Decorations for the Tree

Parents of active toddlers know that the holidays can be a dangerous time due to the abundance of tempting treats and other objects that a child might play with. It’s helpful to imagine your cat or dog as an inquisitive toddler so you can identify the types of decorations that could be harmful if the pet were left unattended. The most common hazards for pets are candles, ornaments, and potpourri. Holiday plants, such as holly, mistletoe, and lilies, should also be kept out of reach from pets. Other ornaments, such as tree tinsel, can be harmful if ingested by pets and lead to obstructions. Don’t hang candy canes from the tree and consider using plastic ornaments instead of glass ones.

Holiday Lights and Pets

The flickering on and off of lights is a common gag in holiday comedies because of the association between lights and the season. Still, there is always the risk that your pet will get hurt or even killed in any of these situations. It’s best practice to unplug the tree lights each night, inspect them, and then plug them back in the following day. Make sure that your pets can’t get to any open outlets or plugs in any of your other decorations, including outdoor lighting. The same goes for decorative items like ceramics that glow in the dark, wreaths, and garlands; they should be stored safely out of reach of pets and unplugged when you can’t be there to watch them. For safety’s sake, unplug electrical appliances rather than just turning them off.

Keep Pets Safe During the Holidays

One way to ensure the safety of your pet during the holidays is to designate a specific area of your home as a pet-free zone. Your pet may feel more at ease with the addition of a kennel, scratching post, soft bed, or crate to the holiday decor. If you are leaving the house for a few hours to go Christmas shopping, see relatives, or take part in other holiday activities, a quiet, isolated room can be a welcome relief. It’s important to provide your pet with plenty of clean water and a comfortable place to rest that’s suitable for their breed, age, and size. Pets that are easily startled or overstimulated may need extra care.

If you’re a New Bedford pet owner looking for more advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your veterinarian in Southeastern Massachusetts. Our winter pet care advice covers a wide range of topics, from where to keep them to how to keep them warm and fed. If you have any questions about Anchor Animal Hospital or any of the services we offer, please don’t hesitate to call us at 508-996-3731 or visit our website, where you’ll find our Dartmouth emergency vet hours posted.