Happy holidays! While preparing for feasts, fun, and family visits, don’t forget about your pets — they need your help to stay happy and healthy during the festivities. Let The Animal Foundation’s ten holiday pet tips help you keep your furry friends jolly this season!
1. Be smart about pet treats
You may want to give your dog or cat a special treat during holiday dinners, but human food high in fat, sugar, and/or seasonings that can make pets sick. Small bones or bone chips can also become lodged in your pet’s throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. If you decide to lightly indulge your dog or cat, stick to tiny pieces of lean, well-cooked, unseasoned meat or vegetables.
2. Protect pets from alcohol
Never give pets alcohol or leave alcoholic drinks unattended within a pet’s reach. Alcohol can cause vomiting or diarrhea and even be fatal to pets. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested alcohol, call your vet or emergency vet clinic immediately.
3. Share house rules with guests
Make sure you know what your pets might be eating during large gatherings. Politely request that your guests don’t feed extra table scraps or treats to your pets, or that they ask your permission first.
4. Provide plenty of water
Trying to stay warm takes up a lot of your dog or cat’s energy. Regularly check that fresh, cool water is available to them. Your pet may also need extra food during the winter months, too!
5. Watch your decorations
Bringing home trees, wreaths, decorations, and presents makes pets extra curious. Properly secure trees so dogs and cats can’t climb or knock them over, and make sure the water in the stand is inaccessible to pets. If your tree or wreath has real pine needles, frequently clean up any fallen foliage — ingesting the sharp needles can puncture pets’ intestines. Holly and mistletoe are extremely poisonous for furry friends, too. Lastly, keep sharp or breakable ornaments, tinsel, dreidels, and the like away from your pets. While they may think so, not everything is a toy or treat!
6. Microchip and tag your pets
With family and friends coming in and out of your home, doors and gates may accidentally be left open. Your pet should have a collar with ID tag on at all times and should have a microchip with your current contact information in case they get out. Ask guests to be careful when entering or exiting your home as well.
7. Create a safe haven
The added stress of holiday company may cause your pet to be a little stressed, shy, or unenthusiastic. Find or create a quiet place in your home where you pet can relax with blankets, fresh water, and toys, away from the festivities. It may also help to walk or play with pets before having people over so they will be more relaxed.
8. Dress for the season
Have a small or shorthaired dog? They may get cold on winter walks, and a coat or sweater with a high collar and complete belly coverage will help them stay warm and cozy. (Don’t forget, pets at the animal shelter want to stay comfy, too! Donate new and gently used linens or pet sweaters/coats to help them stay happy and healthy during the winter.)
9. Be cautious with candles
Warm candles putting out delightful smells may attract your pet’s attention. Place candles out of reach of pets or opt for flameless or LED candles instead.
10. No loud noises for furry family members
Loud noises (especially fireworks) frighten or upset most pets. When the stereo is about to get cranked up or another kind of loud celebration is about to begin, put dogs and cats in a quiet, comfortable, escape-proof room. Offering them toys and treats will help them focus on something else, too!
Share these holiday tips from The Animal Foundation with your pet-loving friends and have a happy holiday season with your furry family members!
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