There are many new things happening around the house during the holiday season, visitors coming and going, new scents from holiday decorations, yummy edibles around the house and road trips to grandma. As pet parents, getting ready for the holiday season, you need to be aware of potential hazards the holidays may present to your furry family members so you can keep them safe.
Much like what we know about proper nutrition for ourselves, what we should and should not feed our pets during the holiday season is usually a matter of common sense. Chocolate is a big No No. The ASPCA notes that as little as ¼ ounce of baking chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased heart rate with a dog weighing 10 pounds. Dogs should never eat chocolate, period. Less sweet chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate as it contains seven times more theobromine, a substance similar to caffeine. In general, all snacks and deserts intended for humans should be kept away from your pets.
Any change in diet can give your pet an upset stomach so don’t feed your dog table scraps, left over food or allow them access to a particularly smelly garbage bin for those known to roam kitchen counters or trash areas. Be especially careful with turkey bones which can choke your dog or lodge in their intestines.
Holiday decorations, such as Christmas trees, Lilies, Holly Berries and Mistletoe, can also be dangerous to pets if ingested. In fact, even allowing your pet access to the Christmas tree water can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Christmas tree water bowls can contain tree fertilizers and the water, if left stagnant, can hold bacteria.
Also, remember that over the holiday season the family environment changes. We become hyperactive super heroes rushing from shopping to school play to home, achieving 27 hours of work in 24. Our living space becomes stuffed with strange objects, flashing lights, noisy toys and lots of stress. Try as best you can to maintain your pet’s normal schedule, keep feeding times the same and commit to their daily exercise routine. Also, be realistic about your animal’s normal behavior. If Fido is a chewer, you may have provided an irresistible chew toy for them by leaving large bright items under your tree. Or, if your feline friend is likes to climb furniture, your Christmas tree may serve as a tempting launching pad for a full frontal attack on your child’s new remote control helicopter hovering nearby.
Make time for your pet, remember they are family members too and this can be a great time of year for them with a little care and planning.