As many of us are excitedly preparing for the holidays, decorating our homes, making plans to entertain guests and looking forward to yummy holiday treats, it’s a good time to also make plans for our pets.
Decorating our homes is one way to enjoy the holidays. Novel changes to a pet’s environment are often a welcome change that allows pets to investigate and explore their surroundings. While holiday décor is festive, holiday decorations that are large, lifelike or motion-activated can disrupt pets’ normal routines and make them anxious. Be mindful of your pet as you decorate your home. Slowly familiarize them to your holiday décor, place anything that may be a choking hazard out of reach and display breakables away from probing paws or wagging tails.
Keeping animals indoors during large gatherings is a safe bet. Use a back room as a quiet hideout for your pets during holiday parties. A safe, secure spot not only ensures they have an enjoyable holiday season, but it also helps keep them from getting loose. Just in case, it is a good idea to make sure dogs and cats wear current identification at all times to help ensure they find their way home. Having a registered microchip also greatly increases a lost pet’s chance of safely returning home.
With the holidays also come lots of treats and food goodies. If your pet is a social party animal and enjoys joining the festivities, be sure to advise guests not to feed snacks unless you give the ‘OK’. That way, you can control your pets’ waistline and, more importantly, prevent them from eating or choking on harmful foods. Never allow them to eat chocolate, bubble gum, onions, grapes and raisins or drink caffeine and alcohol. Remind children and guests to throw away candy wrappers in a secured trash can. Also, it is good to know the number of the closest 24-hour emergency vet hospital as well as a pet poison control hotline.
The holidays are a fun and memorable time for family, friends, and pets alike. With all the hustle and bustle, it is always better to be safe and plan ahead. To be prepared for pet emergencies, consider taking a Pet First Aid course, like the one offered at ARF. For class availability visit the ARF website.