(PET CARE/PETS) The holiday season is a festive time of the year for families all across the globe, but sometimes all the holiday cheer can be a bit dangerous for pets.
Holiday decorations, such as poinsettia plants and tinsel, can be extremely harmful if swallowed by our furry friends. In order to keep your pets safe and happy, make sure to keep decorations and tinsel out of reach, and beware of poisonous plants.
While the holidays are a joyous occasion for families, this time of year can be riddled with dangers for another group of loved ones – pets. According to Trupanion, a medical insurance provider for cats and dogs, toxicity claims spike nearly 25% in December, and foreign body ingestion rises 10% at year’s end. Another holiday hazard – and one pet owners should keep their eye on throughout the year – is a pet’s food intake. Pet owners with overweight pets spend as much as five times more in veterinary expenses than pet owners with average-sized pets.
To keep the holidays happy for pets and their owners, veterinarian Dr. Kerri Marshall offers tips for pet safety at the holidays, recipes for pet-friendly holiday treats, and tips for keeping pets at a healthy weight.
“Traditional holiday décor like poinsettias, tinsel, ornaments, and holly can put pets at risk for vomiting and even cardiac shock if ingested – leading to costly vet bills,” said Dr. Marshall.
Tips for Keeping Pets Safe During the Holidays
- Beware of Poisonous Plants: Poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and certain lilies look festive but are dangerous if ingested. Cover the water for the tree and other plants and make sure your pets always have plenty of water. This will keep them from getting thirsty enough to share a drink with plants that could make them sick.
- Decorating Do’s: Keep tinsel, ribbon, and ornaments out of tails’ reach, as they often prove too tempting for curious pets to avoid but can result in costly vet visits when chewed or swallowed. Be sure to tape down electrical cords, too!
- De-Ice Those Paws! Remove any snow, salt, or de-icing chemicals from pets’ paws right away after being outside in the cold. Frostbitten skin, which will appear red or gray, should be warmed with a moist, warm towel until the skin returns to its regular color.
- Festive Feasts:No matter how much they beg, avoid giving your pets table food – especially raw meat and bones. Reward your pet by making them their own festive (and healthy!) foods, like gingerbread and pumpkin treats.
“Homemade treats are a great way to show your pets some love during the holidays, but the key is moderation. Many pet owners don’t realize when their pets are out of shape,” said Dr. Marshall. “After a happy holiday, get pets in gear for a healthy New Year – from losing a few pounds to trying new activities.”
3 Pet Trim-Down Tips
- Control how much your pet eats.Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s caloric needs and measure portions of food for your pet, instead of free pouring or “eye-balling it.”
- Control when your pet eats.Cut back on treat snacking between meals. The calories in treats can really add up, they should only make up about 10% of your pet’s caloric intake. Cut up small pieces of fruits and veggies, such as apples, carrots, or bananas, for healthy treats to reward your pet with.
- Keep your pet’s diet varied.Try warming up food, adding ketchup, oregano, mashed pumpkin or sweet potato, or even a splash of a fish oil supplement or salmon juice to make diet food more enticing and enjoyable for your pet.