Caitlin UltimoHolidays / Pet Parenting

Dr. Drogan’s Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Parents

Between festive celebrations, traveling and cold weather, the holidays can pose a series of hazards for your pet. Take a look at the tips below from Dr. Drogan to help keep your four-legged friends safe, happy and healthy during the holiday season!

Halloween do’s and dont’s for your pet

Costumes: Although they may look funny and provide a good laugh, most animals do not like being dressed up for Halloween. Some pet costumes can be quite uncomfortable for your pet to move around safely and normally, especially if they are overweight. Many costume embellishments and accessories can easily become choking or foreign body hazards, as well. If you do decide to dress up your pet, make sure you take the proper precautions to ensure their safety and well-being.

Trick-or-Treating may not be a treat for your pet: Many pets experience anxiety when unexpected visitors come to their door, especially when disguised in costumes and masks that can appear very frightening to your pet. If you are expecting a lot of trick-or-treating children at your home, make sure to have a designated person stay outside with the treats.  This will not only prevent constant doorbell ringing that tends to trigger extreme excitement or fear aggression in some pets, but it will also prevent your pet from getting into the candy bowl. If your plans include you not being home while your fur baby stays home, please leave the treat bowl outside for visitors to collect candy and treats as far away from the front door as possible.

Keeping Warm and Protected During a Cold(er) Winter

Just because your pet has a fur coat, does not mean they are always protected and acclimated to extreme outdoor temperatures. Please pay close attention to local weather alerts, including freeze warnings and unexpected rainstorms. Many pets, especially ones that get groomed often, usually need additional layers such as dog coats and dog sweaters to wear during the winter months. For routine walks outside in winter months, protective booties can provide extra protection from the slippery and freezing ice and salt that is placed on the ground, which quickly dries out and damages the skin on paw pads.

Holiday Decoration and Food Pet Health Risks

It may be the time of the year to indulge and take comfort in good cheer with food and drinks, but that doesn’t mean your cat or dog should partake. The majority of foods eaten and decorations used during holiday times are some of the most toxic to pets. The best approach is to not feed them anything from the table, and to place decorations high above and out of sight from your furry children. If you aren’t sure what is safe to give your pet, please ask their veterinarian.

Traveling with your pets and having visitors during the holidays

Holiday traveling and hosting guests is stressful enough for the humans in the household but can be even more stressful for your furry children. If traveling away from home with your pet, remember to discuss your plans with their veterinarian beforehand. This will allow plenty of time to make sure all necessary vaccinations and wellness services are completed. In cases of out-of-state or out-of-country destinations, your pet will need an intrastate or international health certificate for traveling. This appointment is also key for pets with travel anxiety or motion sickness so you can discuss any stress your pet experiences when in a car or on a plane for longer durations as they may need medications to help keep them calm and/or prevent nausea.

If you holiday plans are a staycation where family and/or friends come to you, remember to keep your pet in a quiet room during parties or main event times to prevent any accidental injuries, stress and anxiety associated with loud voices or music, and toxic food exposures. Also, if your pet is on a strict diet for medical reasons or for weight-loss, it is important to educate everyone in the household to not feed anything to them that may affect their treatment plan or hurt them. And since most holiday foods are very rich and high in fat and sugar, it is also important not to give any of the foods to healthy animals as these foods can trigger severe gastrointestinal upset and disease conditions such as pancreatitis which will end up with an unexpected holiday ER visit.

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