This year, many Floridians decided to decorate their homes for the holiday season early – and with good reason. After a long year full of uncertainty, we can at least count on the holidays to lift our spirits and give us renewed hope for 2021.
And, who loves the holidays, the food, and the decorations as much as us? Our pets, of course!
Since many dogs and a few cats love to be right in the middle of everything related to their family, it’s easy to overlook them during all the festivities. But, it’s essential to pause and make sure that your decorations and holiday foods are pet-friendly and safe.
Here are five of the top holiday hazards that can cause serious injury, illness, and, unfortunately, even death for your beloved pet – and most importantly, how to avoid them.
1.) Lights and Candles
Pets gravitate towards colorful blinking lights and candle flames. This can signal disaster if your pet gets too close to these hot objects, especially if they try to pull on them or chew the cords. These actions can cause burns and possible electrocution, as well as being a fire hazard.
Keep all lights and cords out of reach or concealed from your furry family member. If you light candles, especially a menorah for Hanukkah, keep a careful eye on your dog or cat during the celebration. Better yet, choose flameless candles and enjoy peace of mind that your pet and your home will be safe.
Shiny, hanging ornaments are, as they say, “like catnip” to cats. These colorful items hanging from the Christmas tree are just beckoning curious felines to knock them off the branches and chase them across the floor. Glass ornaments can shatter, which can cause cuts, and if eaten, serious intestinal damage. To help keep your pet safe, choose non-breakable ornaments, and hang them in places out of paws reach.
If you deck your halls with holly, be aware that the berries and leaves can be harmful to your pet if eaten. Likewise, for mistletoe, pine needles, and poinsettias.
If you can’t keep the foliage away from your pet, consider artificial greenery. Just keep in mind that cats can even nibble on the fake evergreens, leading to stomach upset and vomiting.
4.) Fatty foods
Please resist the temptation to feed begging cats and dogs (cute as they are!) table scraps. Rich, fatty foods like roasted meats and gravy can cause stomach distress and may lead to a much more severe condition, pancreatitis. Do not feed your pet any foods containing artificial sweeteners (xylitol), as they are also very harmful.
If you would like to provide your four-legged companion with a special treat during the holiday feast, opt for small pieces of lean meat or plain, cooked vegetables.
This is a big one around the holidays with all the baking and lots of candy gifts. It’s important to know that cats and dogs can become very ill if they eat chocolate, even in small amounts. Chocolate contains caffeine and a chemical called theobromine; humans can break down these substances with no problem, but pets cannot.
If you suspect that your dog or cat has eaten chocolate, seek immediate veterinary care at AEHV. When you arrive at our 24/7 emergency animal hospital, our team will want to know what kind of chocolate your pet consumed – and how much – to determine appropriate treatment options. In some cases, white and lighter chocolates may be less harmful than dark chocolate and cocoa – and your pet’s weight will also factor into their treatment.
Know that the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is an excellent resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, even during the holidays. If you think your beloved pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435 immediately. A consultation fee may apply.
The Importance of Pet Insurance During the Holiday Season – and Beyond
You never know when an emergency will occur, and it’s best to be as prepared as possible. It’s no secret that emergency veterinary care is more expensive than a primary care veterinarian, just like an ER for humans.
One way to help with the cost of veterinary care and know that you are protected from unwanted surprises is to purchase pet insurance. If you haven’t purchased insurance for your furry friend, take a moment to read our past blog article dedicated to this critical topic.
Know that AEHV is Open 24/7 to Help Pets in Need
If a veterinary emergency occurs during the holidays, AEHV is open 24/7 – including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
We are offering curbside services for all emergency appointments. We ask that when you park to call us at (386) 252-0206 and await further instructions from our staff.
We wish all of our clients, their families, and their fur babies, a joyous holiday season and a brighter future in 2021. It has been our pleasure to serve you throughout this past year – and we look forward to helping you and your pets in the new year.