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Anytime Pet Care Blog

Holiday pet safety

Winter Holidays with the Furry Friends

 Well it's THAT time of year again! As I sit here drinking my homemade peppermint mocha in my snugglepants...(yes I know....don't hate me because I work from home ;)...I begin to think about the colder weather, the blizzard of '09, and the huge task of pulling out the Christmas decorations yet again. There is so much to love about the holidays and so much to be thankful for this year, and I have vowed to stay focused on the joy of it all. This year will mark the first Christmas in 16 years without my dog Ruby and my cat Susie....both of whom I lost within 2 months of each other this year. However this will be my first holiday with Gizzie, my new kitty and bundle of fur that pulled me through the tears and gave me something to smile about amid the hurt. Our pets are such a blessing, and this is definitely the time of year to count those. :)
On that note, as I prepare to deck my halls with boughs of fake holly, I'd like to share some holiday reminders for those of us with furry friends. While all the trimmings that go along with the season make it bright....they can be downright dangerous to our pets. Check it out...
 
Christmas Trees/Plants
 
Holly, poinsettias, and mistletoe are all poisonous to pets. Keep them away...or opt for the fake versions. Tree water can contain bacteria and tree fertilizers which can make animals sick. Cover the base with a tree skirt so your pet doesn't drink the water. You may want to anchor the tree to the ceiling or wall so your pet doesn't tip it over. Keep light cords covered and taped, and unplug all decorations when you are out. Ever seen "Christmas Vacation" where the cat blows up after biting the light cord??? Maybe an exaggeration....but still not a pretty picture if kitty gets shocked. Also avoid tinsel...cats cannot resist it and it gets tangled in their intestines. I have seen this first hand when I worked at the vet...believe me...tinsel kills. String, ribbon, tinsel....be very careful around kitty. Avoid extremely toxic ornaments such as bubble lights, and avoid hanging ornaments too low as they are harder to resist.
 
Holiday Feasting
 
Yes we are all going to gain 5 pounds.....okay okay we know....but your dog doesn't have too! Resist the temptation to feed Fido his own dinner plate at your holiday meal. While a bit of turkey is a treat...put it in perspective...their calorie needs are MUCH LESS than ours. A 20 pound dog needs 650 calories a day.....thats a McDonalds cheeseburger......hmmmmmm......if you can't feel your dogs ribs....he doesn't need to finish your sweet potatoes. :) Also....NO TURKEY BONES!!!! They splinter...and kill.
 
Cold Weather
 
If you have a cat..keep it inside. A cold cat will sleep under a car hood to get warm....and you know where I'm going with that....yikes. If you have an elderly dog or a puppy, avoid long walks in frigid weather...the young and old do not deal as well with the cold as healthy adult pets. If you have a thin, tiny, or short-haired breed get him a sweater. Being cold is no fun. If you walk your dog in rain, snow or ice, be sure to dry his legs and stomach thoroughly when you get back inside. Check his paws for antifreeze and salt....all that stuff can make them sick when they lick it and crusted ice and salt can damage pads. Ouch!
 
Pets as Gifts....DON"T DO IT!!!!!
 
If it breathes it should not be given as a gift.....PERIOD. Even if the person wants a pet...an animal should be chosen wisely with lots of careful thought and research before such an undertaking. Pets are not disposable or returnable like a sweater that doesn't fit....you are responsible for that animal until it dies....and that could be 16 years from Christmas morning. If you are considering a pet for a child, I suggest "borrowing" a friends' dog for a week. Let the kid see how much work actually goes into caring for a pet BEFORE you bring it home. Also, while kittens and puppys are adorable...they all grow up into adults who if not trained and cared for can make your life miserable. Use your head...do not get a new pet on impulse.
 
Hope these ideas gave you something to think about as you make merry this Christmas. I wish you all a safe and blessed holiday season. And of course.....call me to watch the furry buddies while you are at grandmas house!!  :)
 
Jenn
 
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