Winter Holiday Pet Safety Tips
Holiday celebrations are plentiful in December. One of the things that can put a damper on holiday celebrations is an emergency trip to the vet for your pet. These holiday tips can help you and your fur baby have a “wonderful time of the year.”
PLAN IN ADVANCE
Make sure you know where your emergency vet clinic is located. McKinney has two: Emergency Animal Clinic of Collin County and McKinney Emergency Veterinary Clinic. In addition to the emergency clinics, these two resources are helpful:
ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 888-426-4435
Pet Poison Helpline: 855-764-7661
Avoid giving your pets people food, no matter how much they whine or beg. These foods are especially dangerous for your pets:
- Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, it’s safer to consider all chocolate off-limits for pets.
- Other sweets and baked goods should be kept out of your pet’s reach. Often, these foods, like turkey skin and turkey, are too rich for pets. Eating rich foods can give your pet a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis. In addition, xylitol, an artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, candy, and chewing gum, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.
- Table scraps. Food that we find yummy can be toxic to your pets, including onions, grapes, and
Lights, tinsel, greenery with berries, and Christmas trees can be so festive! For your pet, they pose dangerous temptations.
- Christmas trees can tip over if your pet plays with it or, in the case of our grand kitty, Moe, IN it. Consider using fishing line to tie your tree to a door frame or ceiling.
- Tinsel and other decorations can be tempting for your pet to eat. Broken ornaments can cause injuries and ingested ornaments can cause intestinal blockage or even toxicity. Keep any homemade ornaments, particularly those made from salt dough or other food-based materials, out of reach of pets.
- Lights can cause burns if a pet chews on the cord.
- Flowers and plants can cause a trip to the ER if your pet eats a leaf or sap. Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, poinsettias, and holly are among the common holiday plants that can be dangerous and even poisonous to pets who decide to eat them.
- Candles can be dangerous. Never leave a pet alone with a burning candle.
- Potpourris should be kept out of reach of inquisitive pets. Liquid potpourris pose risks because they contain essential oils and cationic detergents that can severely damage your pet’s mouth, eyes, and skin. Solid potpourris could cause problems if eaten.
- Pets in vehicles should ALWAYS be restrained. Cats need to be in a cat carrier stored behind one of the front seats on the floorboard. Dogs need to be harnessed and restrained with a dog seat belt. These are available on Amazon for less than $10.
- Pack your pet’s supplies. Food, toys, medication, medical records, and a photo of your pet should it become lost.
- If you choose to leave your pet at home and use a pet sitter, be sure it is a PROFESSIONAL pet care service. A professional pet care service will be fully insured, trained, and educated. In addition, make sure the service that you use has employees and NOT independent contractors which can hire out the job.
- Interstate and international travel regulations require any pet you bring with you to have a health certificate from your veterinarian – even if you are traveling by car. Learn the requirements for any states you will visit or pass through and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get the needed certificate within the timeframes required by those states.
- If you are traveling by air and want to take your pet with you, chat with your vet before making that decision. Air travel can put some pets at risk, especially short-nosed dogs. Your veterinarian is the best person to advise you regarding your own pet’s ability to travel.
Happy holidays to you and your pet!