8 Holiday Safety Tips For Your Pet
Christmas 2016 is right around the corner!
And no matter what holiday you celebrate, all holidays can pose a threat to your pet!
Here Are My 8 Holiday Safety Tips For Your Pet:
Holidays always bring with them festive holiday foods.
2 years ago in 2014, it was estimated that most people gained 7-10 pounds over the holidays.
Thankfully, new studies estimate that holiday weight gain is only about 2 pounds.
But, I think we can all agree that decadent treats and wonderful holiday foods abound in November, December and January.
These foods also pose a threat to your furry friend.
Fatty foods (ham, bacon and other meats) can cause your dog to suffer from pancreatitis.
A dog’s body is not set up to metabolize fats like our bodies can and feeding them foods rich in fats, salt and sugar can make them significantly sick and in severe cases kill them.
Working in the veterinary field during this time of year, we see all kinds of foods that poison animals.
Even stealing a loaf of bread or even worse, bread dough can cause your dog momentous illness.
The more advanced technology gets, the more batteries we seem to use!
I have also found that the more children in a home, the more batteries a family seems to use 😉
And, sadly some dogs will play with, bite and ingest batteries.
The acid in batteries can be deadly and/or cause substantial burns to your dog.
I remember years ago, a couple of Rottweilers coming into the clinic I worked at because they had each swallowed several batteries from a package.
Thankfully, after assessing them both via x-ray it was determined that the batteries were not punctured and the owners were able to monitor their dogs’ feces and ensure that they passed with no complications.
Be very careful with batteries and your pet!
It is better to be safe than risk being sorry.
Wrapping paper is fun!
It is fun to rip off and toss away to uncover what is underneath!
Interestingly enough, wrapping paper is fun for your dog too!
However dogs often ingest things that they shouldn’t, and wrapping paper, bows and other decorations can be consumed without dog owners even noticing.
Bows, especially can pose a threat as a bowel blockage.
By all means, I want your children to have a great time shredding through their presents!
But, I would also like to make parents aware that cleaning up shortly after the holiday mayhem can help keep their pet safe.
Holiday fun is often an excuse to live in a bit of disarray.
Children get excited to greet the holidays and often leave their things strung out throughout the home.
Dogs, feeding off of the excitement of the season, can also play with and ingest things they may or may not already play with and humans are less likely to notice.
Like cleaning up after shredded holiday decorations, making sure socks, underwear, clothes and toys are picked up is important to the well-being of your dog!
Obviously, in many places in the world the holiday season brings cold weather.
Many people leave their dogs outside more during this time because of the aforementioned problems that this season may cause.
However, being outside in the cold for long periods of time is not good for most dogs.
In my opinion, it is much better to teach your dog manners around holiday decorations and distractions than to leave them outside for extended periods of time!
A crate can also be a lifesaver during these times.
A Christmas tree poses its own dangers for your cat and dog!
Many trees are bumped, thumped or yanked over.
Not only can a large tree hurt your pet if it falls on him/her, the broken ornaments all over the floor create a danger of their own.
Imagine for a moment being your dog…
Life is full of balls and toys and fun things and games.
Then all of a sudden one day we bring home a Christmas Tree adorned with balls and toys and fun and yet, somehow, we expect our dogs to understand that this new thing in their environment is not to be touched by them.
Can you imagine how ridiculous this is without training the dog to leave the tree and it’s balls and toys alone?
Many ornaments are plucked from trees each year by youthful and eager dogs, some are chewed, some are ingested and some of these dogs need surgery to remove ingested items.
But, it is the ornament hangers, those sharp metal pieces, that worry me the most.
Some of these are swallowed, some get stuck in feet or lips but in many ways these items are just ticking time bombs.
When I adorn my tree, I never use these!
It is not worth the stress to worry about where these pieces of metal will end up!
We all enjoy having friends and family visit us, especially during the holidays!
After all, the holidays are all about having lasting memories with those we hold dearest!
But your guests may just pose a serious and dangerous problem for your dog or cat.
A large number of pets are lost each holiday season when doors are left open and/or pets sneak out.
Not everyone has pets.
I know, I know, let that previous comment sink in for a minute…
There are actually people out there who can leave their doors wide open without ever having to worry about their pet sneaking out, because many of these people don’t have pets.
It is difficult if not impossible to ingrain the importance of door monitoring to these people.
And, even though I trust my dogs with their manners at the front door, I wouldn’t want that door left open for long periods of time with no monitoring.
Also, many people imbibe during holiday gatherings and parties.
If these things worry you, it is easiest to leave dogs in crates and dogs and cats possibly behind locked doors so that they remain unbothered and safe.
If I don’t have time to watch my pet, I will either crate them or leave them at a boarding kennel for the night to ensure that nothing bad will happen!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.