October is National Animal Safety and Protection Month – the perfect time to remind pet families how to keep their four-legged family members safe. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas can be fun holidays for people – but not so much for our pets. Here are some tips as you prepare for and celebrate these upcoming holidays.
- Find a quiet place for your pet to rest that is away from the front door. Door knocks, doorbell rings, and people entering and leaving your home can cause stress for your pet. Open doors as your guests arrive or leave provide an escape route should your pet become anxious. Select a room where Fluffy or Fido won’t be exposed to holiday comings and goings and provide food, water and toys to distract them. Play classical or reggae music at a volume that will block noise but not overwhelm their sensitive hearing. Microchipping your pet will improve the chance s/he is found if they do escape through an open door.
- Place holiday decorations, plants, and flowers where pets can’t reach them. If ingested, ornaments, garland, and tinsel can cause intestinal blockages or injuries to the mouth or paws. Christmas tree lights and extension cords can also be chewing hazards. In addition, there are a number of holiday plants, including lilies, amaryllis, holly, and mistletoe that may be toxic to pets when chewed or eaten. You can avoid these hazards by hanging holiday decorations and placing plants and flowers at a level that is too high for your four-legged family member to reach.
- Store food and candy in closed containers and don’t share rich, fatty foods. Turkey wishbones and foods high in fat and calories like mashed potatoes, gravy, or desserts can cause an upset stomach with vomiting and diarrhea or a more serious condition like pancreatitis. Chocolate candy – a favorite at Halloween and Christmas – in large enough amounts can cause an increase in temperature, heart rate, or blood pressure and may lead to cardiac arrhythmias or seizures. Foods that include zylitol such as baked goods, and sugar-free candy and chewing gum are also toxic to pets. Storing rich, fatty foods and candy in closed containers out of your pet’s reach and refraining from feeding table scraps are the easiest ways to ensure they can’t access items that will make them ill.
Finally, if you know your pet is uncomfortable with loud noises, strange people, or a change in their routine, please call us at (630) 427-4070 to discuss medications that may help them feel more relaxed during the holidays.