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Holiday Tips for Healthy Pets: Physical and Mental Health

Holiday tips for healthy pets. Cat with holiday decorations.

The season of good cheer is starting and it’s likely that you plan to include your furry family members in the festivities. But our pets are naturally curious, and the holidays provide opportunities for them to explore. There are more opportunities for them to get into all types of trouble and danger. As activities and invitations pile up, it can be easy to forget the details of pet care. However, you must be extra vigilant during the holidays to ensure the season is all of the fun it should be. Here are some holiday tips for healthy pets. Keep your pet safe and happy during the holiday season.

Holiday Tips for Healthy Pets

Avoid Toxic Plants

Many holiday plants are actually poisonous if nibbled on or eaten by pets. While you might know not to eat your holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, pine, lilies, or even the Christmas tree, your pet doesn’t know the dangers. Consuming these plants can make your pet extremely ill. If you’re planning on decorating with these plants during the holidays, be sure to keep them out of paw’s reach. Better yet, avoid bringing them into the house and opt for artificial plants instead.

Don’t Feed Pets Table Scraps

Feeding your pet high-fat holiday foods like ham drippings, turkey, gravy, or side dishes with butter will put your fur baby at risk for pancreatitis. This is an extremely painful condition that can lead to a prolonged holiday stay in the ER. However, it’s not just fatty foods that can be toxic. You should also ensure your pet doesn’t eat chocolate, raisins, grapes, currants, food containing onions, chives, garlic, and xylitol. These can destroy your pet’s red blood cells, cause kidney failure, or lead to heart or nervous system problems. Be sure to ask your holiday guests not to feed your pet during events to keep human food away from them. You can also consider keeping them in a different room or area during dinner time.

Keep Them Away from the Tree

It doesn’t take much for an excited dog or climbing cat to knock your Christmas tree over. The Christmas tree is a delightful temptation to almost every pet. It’s filled with lights, tinsel, and dangling ornaments, which are irresistible to pets. However, they are all potential hazards. When chewed, electric cords can burn or shock a pet and broken ornaments can cause cuts. Tinsel and other small ornaments are choking hazards and can cause intestinal blockage if ingested.

Keep tree decorations out of reach or put a pet-proof barrier around your tree if your pets are curious. Also, remember to secure your Christmas tree to keep it from tipping over. Always keep your eyes on the furry family members when they’re loose around Christmas displays.

Provide a Safe Place for Your Pet

Your home can get busy around the holidays. Ringing doorbells, new faces, and increased activity can be stressful and upsetting to your pet’s routine. Christmas crackers, champagne bottles popping, and other noisy surprises can also be traumatizing. And as your door opens and closes during holiday gatherings, your pet might get loose.

If you’re entertaining guests, consider putting your fur baby in another room with toys, fresh water, food, a comfortable bed, and a litter box. Consider playing some calming music to help soothe or distract them. This can make a big difference if they are anxious about the endless stream of visitors and noise in the rest of the house. Also make sure your pet has a microchip and tags on their collar to help quickly find your pet if they escape.

Quickly Dispose of Wrapping Paper

Presents look lovely under the tree, but you want to make sure there aren’t any ribbons, strings, and bows that your pet will want to play with. Such pieces pose a choking hazard. To be safe, you can add them last when you have time to keep an eye on your fur baby. This also applies to the unwrapping part. While it might be cute to watch your pet play with wrapping paper in the aftereffects of Christmas morning gift exchanges, make sure they don’t ingest any of it. Get rid of the gift paper as soon as possible and give your furry friend toys to distract them instead.

Keep a Normal Routine

With how chaotic the holidays can get, it can be tempting to let routines slide. However, any changes you make may cause your pet to feel stressed and anxious. This can lead to behavioral problems. As you gear up for the holiday, try to keep your pet’s exercise and eating habits as close to the normal routine as possible. This could mean taking your dog for short winter walks and feeding them healthy food. Make sure your dog has a sweater, coat, or dog booties to keep them dry. Remember that salt and ice melt can burn your pet’s paws. When you come inside, always dry your pet with a towel. This will help them warm back up and minimize any dryness and cracking.

To learn more holiday tips for healthy pets and pet safety, contact Naples Coastal Animal Hospital today. You can also visit us for urgent or critical care if your pet’s health or behavior changes suddenly in any way. Our vets are here to help your pets in any way they can in a fear-free environment.