Follow Lincolnshire Animal Hospital’s Helpful Tips and Tricks to Planning the Perfect Pet Safe Holiday Party!
by MANDI BROADBENT, CSR
It’s that time of year again… the wonderful holiday season!
No matter what you celebrate – Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas – these festive days are full of welcome guests, rich foods, sparkly decorations, and delicious desserts. More often than not, these days also include a busy host who may be a little distracted making sure there is plenty of food and seating, cleaning the house guests, and setting dinner tables… and not always paying attention to Fido or Fluffy. Lincolnshire Animal Hospital would like to help you take the stress out of the holidays with these helpful tips to planning a pet safe holiday season:
Have your guests help!
- Ask your holiday guests to not feed your pet any table scraps or sweets, no matter how cute those big eyes look. Rich and fatty foods, or foods with lots of spices are popular this time of year… and are a BIG no-no when it comes to our four-legged friends. Onions, garlic, and raisins are highly toxic to your pet, plus turkey and chicken bones can cause internal damage if swallowed. Also, sweets – especially the sugar-free ones – often contain xylitol, a dangerous toxin for your pet, which can lead to serious medical problems. And while chocolate might give you a buzz for 20-40 minutes, the caffeine and theobromine in chocolate are very toxic for your pet and can last in their system for more than 24 hours. To put it plainly, don’t risk it – Keep a bowl of pet safe holiday flavored pet treats out and ask guests to safely give those to your pet.
Always have their collar on!
- Tis’ the season for parties, which usually means loads of guests coming and going and creating tons of opportunities for your pet to rush right out the door! Before planning your festivities, make sure your pet’s I.D. tag on their collar is current and the information on your pet’s microchip is updated to include your most recent cellphone number. Also be mindful when opening the front door on the big day, and be sure to hold on to your pet securely. It’s a good idea to hold your dog’s collar as they sniff the palms of new guests, especially when Fido meets young children; the rate of dog bites is significantly higher for children aged 5-9. If your dog growls or seems agitated in any way, move Fido to a space all their own and let them relax.
Don’t forget playtime!
- It’s time to party!! Your pet doesn’t understand that you’re having a party – they just want to play! If you have animal loving guests, ask them if they would like to spend a little time giving attention to Fido or Fluffy while you are busy tending to the party. A fun game of Hide and Seek with new toys or a nice long walk – somewhere with lots of greenery and space to run around – can be incredibly beneficial! Remember, a nice outdoor play session or some good pets can go a long way in de-stressing your companion during a busy day.
Give them a safe space to get away.
- If you’re going for a pet safe holiday, don’t forget to give them plenty of space. The holidays are full of festive fun and activities, but if all the hubbub becomes too overwhelming, Fido and Fluffy should have a safe retreat. Providing your pet with a safe and quiet place to escape to if the party becomes too stimulating is extremely important. Set up a quiet, dark, or dimly lit room with no hazards, fresh water, treasured toys, and something the snuggle – and ask your guests not to go into the pet room without permission, especially children. This should be a safe retreat for your pet if they need to calm down from the party and no one should go in there and disturb that. If you pet has anxiety issues, please make sure you have your pet’s medication on hand to administer quickly, if needed.
Lock up your pills!
- Put your medications away! It’s something so simple yet can be the difference between life and death. We often forget that many of us take daily medications and some of them could be deadly if ingested by a curious pet. Make sure all of yours and your guest’s medications are kept behind closed doors and be sure to tell your party-goers to keep their medications zipped up and packed away, too!
Watch out for poisonous holiday plants!
- Did you know that poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly are among the most dangerous plants this time of year? And those beautiful holiday lilies??… Fluffy could experience severe kidney failure if they eat any of them. The Animal Poison Control Center handled nearly 8,000 calls related to the ingestion of common houseplants in 2018 alone! The Animal Poison Control Center can be reached at 888-426-4435 in an emergency.
Decorations can be dangerous.
- Try and avoid leaving candles lit in an empty room and be sure to use electrical tape to secure cords and ties so your pet can’t chew on them. If you put up a holiday tree, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to tether the tree to the ceiling or wall so it’s can’t be knocked over, and always use a tree skirt to cover tree water from pets – the preservatives often used to keep your tree fresh can be quite toxic to your four-legged friend. Also, if you do put that tree up, don’t just rely on those flimsy metal hooks to hang your glass ornaments – use an additional piece of string to ensure they won’t come crashing down too easily. While tinsel looks cute and shiny, it is also very tempting for your kitty and poses serious health concerns if swallowed by your little one. If Fluffy ingests any, the surgical removal is expensive.
Gifts can be great!
- Everyone loves presents, and our pets are no exception! Remove the temptation of discarded wrapping paper and ribbons by throwing them away as soon as they are off the gift, and be mindful that Fido doesn’t ingest any children’s toys or stocking stuffers in the celebration. Also, keep in mind – it’s no fun getting a gift that isn’t something you can use and we need to remember that with our pets! Buy your pet’s presents and treats from a reputable retailer, or veterinary clinic, and never leave a pet alone unsupervised with a new toy until you know how they will react to it.
Please remember that a pet is for life… never give a pet as a surprise gift to anyone!