Friday, 21 December 2012

Pet Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

This time of year is a wonderful time to share with friends and family, to eat, drink and to decorate your home with festive holiday décor.  However, these traditions can be quite hazardous to our pets if we do not take the proper precautions to ensure the safety of our furry friends during the holiday season.
Christmas Trees:  While having a Christmas tree in your home can be delightful and decorative, it can make your pets sick.  Pets are often attracted to eating pine needles, which can become lodged in their throats, making it painful for them to swallow, or worse puncture through.  Also, for pets, drinking the water from Christmas trees can cause diarrhea, mouth sores, and vomiting.  We recommend keeping your pet in an area that is separated from where your tree is located in your home, during times that you are not monitoring your pet, or if you are away over the holidays, and having a pet sitter care for your home and pets.  Also, cover your tree stand with a tight skirting, to prevent your pet from drinking the tree water and pick up fallen pine needless promptly.
Plants:  Holly, Poinsettias, and mistletoe can be festive holiday décor for your home, but are unfortunately also toxic to our pets.  They can cause stomach, skin, mouth and eye problems.  Make sure that your Christmas plants are out of reach of your pets over the holidays.  Artificial plants made from silk or plastic can be another option.
Lights:  Adding more lights to your home, will add more cords for your pets to chew on if you’re not careful.  With electrical lights, be sure to tape the cords to the walls or floors to ensure that your pet cannot chew or trip on them.
Chocolate & Nuts:  Some cookies, candies and nuts can be dangerous to your pets. For example chocolate is highly toxic to our furry friends as it contains theobromine and theophylline, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. The darker the chocolate the more toxic it becomes for our pets.  Eating chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, increased thirst, and heart rate in our pets.  Amongst the nuts the most prominent to avoid is the Macadamia nut. The high phosphorus content is said to possibly cause bladder stones in dogs. Eating Macadamia nuts can also cause weakness, muscle tremors, swollen & painful limbs, and worse paralysis. Candy wrappers can also be extremely attractive to pets, and can cause vomiting and intestinal blockage when digested. Make sure that all of your holiday sweets are out of your pet’s reach, and that candy wrappers are disposed of while your sitter is caring for your pet over the holidays.
Holiday leftovers:  While sometimes we think our pets deserve a holiday treat, changing their regular diet even for one feeding can cause indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney and/or liver damage with toxic ingredients. There are so many ingredients in our holiday recipes that we need to avoid for our pets, such as: onions, garlic, mushrooms, grapes, raisins to name a few. Poultry and fat trimmings is a popular left over that is often fed to pets.  Poultry bones can splinter, lacerate and cause bowel obstruction which your pet will require surgery to remove the bone. And fat trimming can cause Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.
Parties:  If you plan to entertain this holiday season, make sure that your pet has a place to retreat to when they get overwhelmed with all of the excitement and to ensure that they do not escape from your home.
Alcohol:  Animals can become very sick if they ingest alcohol.  Make sure when you’re entertaining to place alcoholic drinks out of reach of your pets.
That said, we at Loving Paws & House Sitting encourage you to celebrate the holidays with your furry family members with pet friendly treats, gifts and cuddles. Enjoy their company while keeping in mind their safety!
Lastly give back to less fortunate pets this holiday season!  While your pet is in a safe and secure home being cared for by you or your pet sitter over the holidays, there are many pets that will be homeless. At the Ottawa Humane Society, you can give back to less fortunate animals by helping a dog or cat in need or giving a special gift. To donate to Ottawa Humane Society please visit our OHS My Fundraiser Page today!  Your gift would make a paws-itive impact on a pet-in-need’s life. 
Have a pur'fect holiday season, and a doggone Happy New Year!