For many people, pets are an essential part of their family, and they participate in many activities, including preparations and celebrations for the holiday season. While the holidays might look a little different this year for many people across the country, many things will still go on that could potentially harm curious pets. Your local Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian wants you to have all of the information necessary to prevent many pet emergencies and injuries from occurring. Winter tips for small pets, as well as for cats, dogs, and other common household pets, can be helpful and avoid a trip to the Dartmouth emergency vet. You can follow more tips for New Bedford pet owners and local pet owners throughout the Southcoast area in the blog on our website.

Holiday Food Concerns

There’s a reason why everyone goes on a diet after the holidays: it’s all that sweet, savory, and indulgent food that we all look forward to this time of year. We love to eat all those sugar cookies, smoked meats, fried foods, and seasonal desserts – and so do our pets! Unfortunately, just as those foods aren’t healthy for us, they also aren’t suitable for our pets. Resist the urge to share a treat with your pet and instead have some healthy dog or cat treats on hand that you can give when everyone else is enjoying a holiday goodie. If you have family and friends over, keep the food out of reach and make sure your guests know that it’s okay to feed your pet. Learn the toxic foods that can be most dangerous to your pet, including chocolate, grapes and raisins, xylitol sweetener, and onions. Have the number to our Dartmouth emergency vet on hand to discuss any symptoms right away without delay.

Holiday Decorations

Parents with active toddlers can tell you that the holidays create a minefield of things that the child can get into that could cause potential harm. Thinking about your curious cat or dog as a toddler can be helpful to spot out all of the types of decorations that could be dangerous, especially if the pet is left unattended while you are out shopping or at work. Lit candles, decorated trees, and potpourri are some of the biggest problems when it comes to pets ingesting things that they should not or coming in contact with items that might result in serious harm. Other things to keep away from pets include holiday plants, many of which are toxic, such as holly, mistletoe, and lilies. Other decorative items, such as tinsel for the tree, can cause intestinal blockages in pets if they are eaten. Consider switching out glass ornaments for unbreakable plastic options and forgo hanging candy canes on the tree.

Holiday Lighting and Electrical Displays

Lights are often associated with the holidays, and many seasonal movies show pets chewing on wires, causing the lights to go on and off in a funny way. However, this can all be very dangerous, and your pet could become injured – or worse. Your best bet is to get in the habit of unplugging the tree lights and inspect them before plugging them back in again the next day. Ensure that all other decorations, including outdoor lighting, do not have a plug or open outlet where your pets can gain access. Decorative pieces, including light-up ceramics, wreaths, and garland, should also be put up and away from pets and kept unplugged when you are not there to supervise. Don’t just switch off a power cord; unplug those items to prevent injuries and other accidents.

Holiday Hide-A-Way for Pets

One way to keep your pet safe is to have a holiday-free space where your pet can relax during a family gathering or party. A kennel, scratching post, comfy bed, or crate might be just what your pet needs to feel more comfortable during the holiday season. A separate room away from it all can also be a good idea if you will be out of the home for a few hours to shop, visit family and friends, or participate in holiday events. Ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh, clean water and that your pet has enough space to lay down and be comfortable, as is appropriate for their breed, age, and size. Pets that get scared or excited quickly may require more support. You can always contact your Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian to get more tips for New Bedford pet owners. We can also offer winter tips for small pets, including habitat, heating, nutrition, and much more. Our Dartmouth emergency vet hours are posted on our website, but you can always contact us directly by calling 508-996-3731 to get more information about Anchor Animal Hospital and the services we provide.