Everyone loves to be able to gather and enjoy family company during the holidays. Our pets love to be included too! It can be difficult to keep track of our furry friends during all the holiday fun, and at times we may not know what our pets are getting into. We hope these safety tips will help to keep your pet happy and healthy.
1) Pick up anything that your pet can eat and keep objects out of reach
Pets are notorious for eating or getting hold of things they shouldn't. To ensure there is not anything laying around accessible to them that could get them into trouble, you must be diligent and pick up all objects you do not want them chewing on. Be sure to block off restricted areas or any rooms you would prefer your pet not have access to. Make sure doors are shut and consider baby gates where appropriate.
2) Keep your pet away from hot surfaces like the oven or deep fryer
Pets are very curious and like to inspect everything. Appliances can be dangerous for your pet, so be sure to be extra careful especially with ovens and deep fryers. If your pet gets too close, they could burn themselves or they could knock it over and cause a fire. Remember, our curious furry friends may stick their heads anywhere to check for food, including the oven! The best solution is to keep pets out of cooking areas during food preparation and while appliances are still hot.
3) Avoid feeding table scraps to your pet
Allowing your pet to eat table scraps can lead to several serious medical conditions which are not only expensive, but can be life threatening. Some foods are even toxic to your pet, like onions and raisins. Lastly, one of the most common food items pets tend to find after Thanksgiving dinner, are turkey bones! Make sure not to leave bones in a place your pet could reach. Ingestion of bones can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, which is uncomfortable and may require your pet to be hospitalized. Also, bone splinters can puncture the stomach or intestines, and this would require an emergency surgery for your pet. No matter how much your pet begs, avoid giving them table scraps and make sure all family members and visitors are aware of the risks involved; it’s just not worth it!
4) Overstimulation and undesirable behavior changes
While our pets may normally enjoy family attention, be mindful that the extra attention of a large unfamiliar crowd over the holiday may be too much. Overstimulation may make your pet very anxious and this may illicit unusual behavior. Inappropriate elimination or aggression can be common behavioral responses when pets face a high level of anxiety. If your pet does get overly stimulated, it is best to place them in a separate quiet area where they will feel safe. Also, always keep a close eye on children that may be playing too rough with your pet (ie. pulling on the tail, ears, or skin). Your pet may even feel the need to be protective of their toys, bedding or food and water bowls. This can lead to aggression or reactive snapping/biting.
Visiting pets should meet your pet(s) in a neutral environment if possible, prior to bringing them over. This will help to make them feel less threatened and less protective of their belongings and home.
5) Including your pet in the feast
If you would like to include your pet in the feast, good news- you can! The best way to do this is to offer your pet their regular dog/cat food. If your pet mainly eats dry food, you can add a little bit of soft food to their meal to make it extra special for them. Another thing that can be exciting for your pet is to add low sodium chicken broth to their meal. Another holiday idea is to make your pet homemade treats with pet friendly ingredients that won’t give them an upset stomach.