A great deal of planning goes into the celebrations that make the month of December a whirlwind of food, family, friends and festivities! Keeping the holidays happy and memorable takes a little extra effort for those of us with pets.
Nothing dampens the holiday spirit like a sick pet, especially when the humans in their lives realize it could have been prevented. Being prepared will make it easier for you to get help quickly should you be faced with a medical emergency. Since most veterinary offices close over the holidays, talk to your veterinarian about where you should go for emergency care. Know the location and phone number for the 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic they recommend, and keep the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline number, (800)462-4435, where you can quickly access it.
By following a few simple rules, you can greatly increase your chances of an uneventful holiday where your pets are concerned. The first rule of safety, is keep people food and drinks away from your pets. Remind your guests, that sharing with your pets is not a good idea since many of the things we eat can actually be toxic for them, causing liver failure, pancreatitis, vomiting, diarrhea, and in the worst of circumstances, death.
-High fat meats and gravies
…are just a few of the foods that can turn a celebration, into a tragedy, for our pets.
Holiday decorations, candles, scented oils and plants all represent a different kind of hazard. Leaving pets alone with these tempting additions to our home place them at greatly increased risk for injury and/or poisoning. If you must have them, keep them out of reach. Whenever possible, the safest choice is to simply keep them out of your home! Glimmering decorations and tinsel ornaments are often irresistible to our pets, but again, they can result in injuries and/or potentially life-threatening conditions like intestinal blockages. Amaryllis, an especially popular holiday plant, is deadly to cats if ingested. Pine needles, mistletoe, poinsettia plants, etc. can all make pets gravely ill.
If you suspect your pet has eaten something it shouldn’t, get them medical care immediately. Don’t try to handle this yourself! The sooner your pet receives medical treatment, the greater the chances they’ll experience a full recovery.
Know the warning signs that your pet may be in trouble. Any sudden changes in behavior, lack of energy or unusual lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, pain, withdrawal or hiding, particularly in cats, can all signal a health emergency. If you sense your pet is not right, trust your instincts and get them to a veterinarian for further evaluation. When pets are boarding or under the care of a pet sitter during the holidays, or any other time of year, be sure to provide your pet sitter with all their emergency medical information, and give them written authorization to seek medical treatment for your pet.
As always, speak with your Veterinarian about navigating emergencies when their office is closed. They’re your best resource for advice on your pets and for answers to any questions you may have. Wishing you and all your family members a happy and safe holiday season!