Remember what happened to Aunt Bethany’s cat in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Think Rover’s never thought about taking down that Christmas tree? Often times during the holidays, we, that is humans, tend to not think about the specific threats that the holidays can pose on our furry family friends.
Electrical cords are not to be taken lightly (no pun intended). When pets chew on electrical cords, risks include ingestion (wires do not digest well and copper is toxic), electrical burns or electrical shock leading to heart and lungs abnormalities and even death. Make sure that pets are not allowed access to these items.
While it’s fun to watch Rover rip open gifts and Fluffy play with ribbon and ornaments there are many components of gifts and decorations that could lead to serious illness if ingested. But despite rumors to the contrary, Poinsettias are not poisonous and the occasional leaf munching will not kill your pet.
Also, holidays always involve food, but pets should not partake. In general, anything other than the usual dog and cat food can lead to an upset stomach. Always play it safe—if your pet experiences signs of loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and/or diarrhea these are signs of illness and you should see your vet right away. In the meantime, keep these things out of pets’ reach!
You’re not the only one who gets stressed by having the in-laws visit. Our pets have personalities and visitors can be scary and disrupt routines. Moreover, if Uncle Lewis is allergic to cats or cousin Eddie is afraid of Chihuahuas, pets are often confined or relegated to the backyard. Such stress can be detrimental to pets’ wellbeing and manifest as depression, loss of appetite and development of unwanted behaviors. Find out ahead of time how houseguests feel about pets and try to stick to routines. But if worst comes to worst, encourage your out-of-town guests to stay in a hotel—blame me.
If you take your pets on your holiday vacation, check with your veterinarian to make sure that they are up-to-date on their vaccines and carry copies of medical records. Pets who travel by air are required to have a health certificate which requires an exam by your veterinarian within 10 days of travel. Traveling internationally may be subject to more stringent requirements so do your research ahead of time. If you are traveling by car, take along travel items —toys, food, water, litter box, leashes and plan on stopping every two to three hours.
If boarding your pet over the holidays, make reservations well in advance and ask about vaccine requirements. For adult dogs and cats, it takes 10-14 days for a vaccine to elicit an adequate immune response, so plan ahead. Also, just like in humans, the vaccines that we give pets do not protect against everything. Sending the pets own food and a few toys and an article of your clothing can make him feel less homesick while you’re gone.
- Holiday Dangers
- Vaccines and Diseases
- Fleas and Ticks
- Spaying and Neutering
- Why Is Bloodwork Important?
- Ear Infections
- Skin Disease
- Lumps and Bumps
- What to Expect After Your Pet’s Vaccinations