There are still almost twenty days before Christmas and then there’s the New Year, so our pets have plenty of time to get into trouble.
When I think of holiday hazards I break them down into three general categories. Holiday food and spirits, holiday visitors, holiday decorations and a few miscellaneous items can all create dicey situations for our dogs and cats if we don’t pay attention. I’ll cover the first two in this post and the rest later this week.
Food gets lots of attention around the holidays.
We vow not to overeat and then we all go right ahead and pig out. You can tell by all the new faces in the gym after New Years Day. Our dogs and cats can suffer the same fate and put on a few extra pounds. Over the years, simply overeating at holiday time can create serious overweight problems for pets. Try to avoid giving them the turkey skin or letting them do the prewash on the gravy pan.
Food accidents can be a problem, too, and there are more hazardous treats around this time of year. If the dog gets up on the smorgasbord table and gorges on dressing you’ll probably have a mess to clean up later. Vomiting and diarrhea are common problems for pets around the holidays. Chocolate, grapes and raisins (in dressing?) can present more serious problems.
Chocolate varies in toxicity, as we’ve discussed. I remember Darcie eating a half pound of fudge one Thanksgiving. She didn’t seem to miss a beat, but be wary and keep treats up and out of reach.
It’s great for us to have visitors over the holidays, or maybe not, depending on how you get along with the in-laws, but for pets, a visit from your sister and her three kids can be trouble. The kids may look at your dog or cat as an early Christmas present they don’t have to wait to unwrap. Your pet may see things differently. You can prevent problems by sitting down with the kids, and some adults, and laying down some ground rules.
Lots of dogs and cats see a door being opened to welcome guests as an opportunity to flee holiday stress and head for the hills. Be wary and make sure the relatives are watching, too. Go for dog walks with the relatives and show them the ropes before you take them up on an invitation to let them walk your dog.
Some dogs and cats may not want to celebrate at all and for these more sedate, or maybe even more nervous individuals, it’s great to have a safe, stress free place to hang out until everyone goes home. A spare bedroom or a crate in a calm place, for a crate trained dog, can provide a safe haven. You’ll probably feel like spending some time there with them, if you’re anything like me.
Next post we’ll cover decorations and a few other holiday dangers to avoid.