‘Tis the Season for Holiday Pet Safety

christmas pet safety whippetThe holidays wouldn’t be the same without the sparkling decorations, gifts, and delicious smells of food wafting from the kitchen. However, as we deck the halls for another season filled with delights, it’s easy to overlook the safety concerns of our furry loved ones.

Practicing holiday pet safety is an important part of your seasonal planning, and your team at Berks Animal Emergency and Referral Center is here to start you off on the right paw with our safety and planning tips.

Boughs of Holly

Pets are curious about any changes to their environments, and that includes holiday decorations. Keep the following pet holiday safety tips in mind as you deck the halls this year:

  • Breakable décor – Many pets are fascinated by holiday décor and ornaments, but glass or fragile plastic varieties can shatter, putting your pet at risk for lacerations. Keep breakable items well out of your pet’s reach.
  • Ornament hooks – Speaking of ornaments, their hooks can become lodged inside a curious pet’s mouth, paws, or eyes. Try fishing twine or ribbon instead.
  • Tinsel – Many cats find tinsel irresistible, but it can cause intestinal blockage if ingested. Protect your pet and find a safe alternative to tinsel, or don’t use it at all.
  • Wires and cords – Nibbling or chewing on cords can cause burns or electric shocks to pets, and dangling cords pose a choking hazard. Keep wires and cords bundled in protective tubing or tack them along a beam or high spot, out of your pet’s reach.
  • Plants – Certain flowers and festive plants, including holly, mistletoe, balsam, pine, and cedar, can be dangerous or poisonous if ingested by pets. Poinsettias can also cause intestinal upset if eaten.

The Splendid Table

Food is an important part of the holiday season, but people food can pose a real danger to your pets. Candy and sweets containing chocolate and the artificial sweetener Xylitol are toxic, and should be placed where pets can’t reach them.

Table scraps must also be kept away from pets. Food items that are high in fat, such as poultry skin and gravy, can trigger a serious condition known as pancreatitis. If you would like for your pet to share some holiday food, offer him or her plain, cooked vegetables or a scoop of unsweetened pumpkin puree as a treat.

Planning for Pet Holiday Safety

Taking a few moments to plan for your pet’s comfort and safety before the holidays begin will go a long way toward reducing stress and anxiety, both for you and your pet.

  • Changes in routine can create stress in our pets. Do your best to maintain your furry friend’s normal feeding, exercise, and play schedules throughout the holiday season.
  • Even the most social dog or cat can become overwhelmed by the noise and confusion of a holiday gathering. Provide pets with a quiet, secure spot to escape the crowd.
  • Pets can easily slip out of an open door or gate amidst the commotion of guests coming and going. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with ID tags and have his or her microchip updated, if you haven’t already.
  • Studies have confirmed what most pet owners already knew: snuggling with pets reduces our stress (and theirs)! Take some time during the craziness of the season to relax with your four-legged friend, enjoy the beauty that surrounds you, and appreciate the bond you share with your pet.

From all of us at Berks, we wish you, your family, and your pet the happiest of holidays!