Even the most socialized pet can get stressed out around the holidays. Guests are coming and going, packages are being delivered, new smells and foods are being prepared, and of course – that big tree in the living room. Whether you have a large gathering of friends and family or just a quiet get together this holiday season, there are things that New Bedford pet owners can do to make the holidays safer for their pets. In addition to routine check-ups at the local Dartmouth animal hospital, preventive vaccines, and dental care for pets, these seasonal pet tips can help you to make everything “merry and bright” for your furry, four-legged friends.
Challenge #1 – Holiday Food
For many pet owners, this is the biggest concern. Of course, certain foods are considered to be toxic or dangerous to pets that must be avoided at all costs. However, if you are hosting a potluck event or if gifts exchanged contain candies and other treats, it could be impossible to keep them out of your home entirely. Ensure that your pet does not have access to treats that contain grapes or raisins, onions, chocolate, xylitol, and other toxic ingredients. Keep all people food out of reach and instruct your guests against feeding scraps or offering any treats to your pets.
Challenge #2 – Create a Safe Space
One of the best ways to keep your pet out of harm’s way during a holiday event is to find them a safe space where they can feel secure. The safe place should be either a kennel, crate, or another gated area for dogs that includes a comfortable bed, some safe toys, and fresh water. For cats, consider a room or space that features a locked door so guests (and children) can’t open it and accidentally let the cat out. The last thing you want to do is have to go hunting for your cat or dog during or after the party because they ran out in fear. Winter is a dangerous season in the best of circumstances, but a frightened pet can run further than you might think. Do everything you can to prepare for your pet’s safety – no matter what.
Challenge #3 – Holiday Decorations
For some pets, traditional decorative items can be the most dangerous. Lit candles can be a danger to both cats and dogs, posing more than just a potential fire hazard. Singed whiskers and paws – even on a very high shelf – can be a big problem, even when you are at home. Decorating a holiday tree, centerpiece, of a display with potpourri can also be extremely attractive to a pet. Unfortunately, many of the ingredients used in these decorative items can be toxic. Consider changing the decorations you use or at least the location in which you display them when you have new or young pets in your home. Tinsel, scented air fresheners, and even the Christmas tree itself can be significant temptation to curious pets. This is one of the more essential and overlooked seasonal pet tips.
Challenge #4 – Seasonal Plants
It might seem like an innocent enough gift, but a pot of holly, mistletoe, lilies, or poinsettia can be extremely dangerous to pets. While not all pets nibble on plants, it is still a good idea to keep these seasonal items out of your home and opt for faux versions to use in your holiday displays. It’s not worth New Bedford pet owners taking a chance when there are thousands of pets hurt by toxic plants each year. You could keep them up on a high shelf, but as we know with candles and other dangerous items, many pets can be quite intelligent and still figure out how to reach them. If your pet does ingest plants of any kind, contact your local Dartmouth animal hospital right away.
Schedule an End-of-Year Check-Up
One way to keep your pet healthy throughout the year is to schedule regular check-ups and stay on top of vaccinations, preventive treatments, and dental care for pets. Cats, dogs, rabbits, and many exotics will all thrive and live healthier lives if they have regular check-ups. It is essential to find a local veterinary clinic that can provide the type of care for the species of pet that you keep in your home. Pocket pets and traditional domesticated pets can be an excellent addition to your family. Still, you need to be able to provide them with the quality of care necessary to ensure a long and healthy life.
Contact Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth to schedule a check-up for your pet. An end-of-year check-up can be a great way to say good-bye to 2019 and prepare your pet for what’s to come in the New Year. Give us a call at 508-996-3731 to speak with one of our team members about veterinary services for your pet. Since 1975, Anchor Animal Hospital has provided quality, comprehensive veterinary care for New Bedford pet owners in the Southcoast area.