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holiday pet safetyIt’s the most wonderful time of the year, and also a potentially dangerous one for pets. When the temperatures drop and the holiday food and decorations come out, the risk of illness or injury to our pets increases.

Take a look around your home and make sure it’s a safe and inviting place for your four-legged family members. To help you out, your friends at Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center have these essential holiday pet safety tips for creating a pet-friendly season.

A Festive Display

Decking the halls is a beloved holiday tradition, and as long as we keep pet safety in mind, we can continue to enjoy a festive home.

  • Take a discerning look at your tree and consider anchoring it to prevent it from being toppled over. Tree stands should be covered to keep your pet from ingesting fertilizers, insecticides, preservatives, fire retardants, and other chemicals in the water.
  • Keep cords and wires out of your pet’s reach, or bundle them in plastic covers, to prevent entanglement and electric shock.
  • Tinsel and curling ribbon can be irresistible to many pets, which can result in a dangerous intestinal obstruction if eaten.
  • Keep lit candles covered and out of reach, or purchase battery operated lights.
  • Glass ornaments should be placed high on the tree, since these can easily shatter and cause an injury. If your cat is a climber, it’s safer to stash the delicate ornaments and opt for non-breakable decorations.
  • Many holiday plants can be toxic to pets and should not be in the home, including lilies, mistletoe, and holly, among others.

The Splendid Table

One of the most common holiday pet emergencies is accidental poisoning. Poisoning can occur when a pet eats something toxic, such as these holiday foods:

  • Xylitol (a sugar substitute used in sugar-free gum, candy, baked goods, and certain peanut butters)
  • Chocolate (especially baking chocolate)
  • Alcohol
  • Garlic and onions
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Caffeine
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Yeast (raw dough or homebrew)

Digestive problems, such as pancreatitis, also occur more often during the holidays, when pets have more access to rich, fatty foods like poultry skin and bacon. To protect your pet, make sure everyone knows not to feed them table scraps, and put leftovers away and cover or take out the trash immediately to prevent scrounging.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

The typical Vermont winter brings an element of delight and nostalgia to the holiday season. Although many pets adore snow, it’s best to keep their safety in mind. Pets belong indoors on cold days (ideally, snuggled up by the fire with you!).

Considering the season, it’s beneficial to have an evacuation plan in place for your pet, in the event of a winter power outage. This includes names of pet-friendly hotels or pet-welcoming friends or family members.

Holiday Pet Safety to Ease a Troubled Mind

Lots of new people in the home can be a real problem for shy or anxious pets. You can help by providing a quiet, secure room for your dog or cat to relax in when guests are over. Provide plenty of water, soft bedding, toys, and a fan or low-volume radio to drown out noise.

Do you anticipate any issues that may stand in the way of holiday pet safety this year? Give your team at Rutland Veterinary Clinic a call. We can help!