Holiday Pet Hazards: Are You Prepared?

As I strolled through the grocery store recently, I noticed the Christmas décor is out in full force. It seems to me the decorations went on display months ago; the good folks at my local fooditorium want to ring in the holidays a tad early. Someday, I am certain, they will start putting up the tinsel in June.

The holiday season is one of togetherness and closeness and as pets take on a more important role in our lives, they are increasingly a big part of the holiday festivities. During this otherwise joyous season, a few pet dangers are lurking. The following information will help keep your pet safe during all the fun and avoid dangerous and expensive trips to the pet ER.

Food: The biggest holiday threat to your pet comes from the same threat to your waistline — FOOD! The holiday season is all about food and there’s plenty of it to be had: cookies, roast beef, pudding and more cookies! To you, it may just mean another hour on the stair stepper, but to your dog, human food can cause real problems.

Vomiting and diarrhea are common after eating too much people food and this can proceed onto a more serious condition called pancreatitis for some pets. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, the same gland that makes digestive enzymes as well as insulin. It can be very serious, painful, and often requires hospitalization. If your dog does throw up or suffer from a bowel issue, keep some clean up tools on hand!

Dogs have been known to drag an entire turkey off the counter when the owner’s back is turned, so make sure that you stay aware of their whereabouts during meal preparation.

If you do want to include your pet in the meal and fun, stick to a bit of lean turkey and low- or non-fat veggies (no onions, though — these can cause problems for dogs).

Booze: Boy, I sure feel like a buzzkill! First, I tell you that food is a potential no-no for pets and now here I am taking all your fun away! Sadly, it is true — don’t get your Doberman drunk during the holidays! Make sure that all of the boozy party leftovers are well out of reach and no lampshade-wearing guests try to give your Pug a mug of beer! No one wants so see a Bassett with a hangover — it’s just too sad to even conceive!

The Open Door: People come and go way more during the holidays than other times of year, and all that traffic can lead to plenty of opportunities for escape. We see many pets that make a break for freedom when Uncle Floyd comes a-callin’ with his special tuna surprise. Dogs and cats can dart out the door without anyone even noticing and there’s a whole big world of hurt just waiting for them out there. Make sure that pets are safely put away when you are expecting guests and make a nightly head count to make sure that all of the furry family members are accounted for before turning in for your visions of sugar plums.

Here’s to hoping that you have a safe and sane holiday season, and all family members make it through safely, no matter how many legs they have.

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