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Avoid spoiling the holiday cheer with an emergency trip to the vet by keeping your pet safe during the holidays. When it comes to food, guests, and holiday decor, the winter season might not be as enjoyable for your furry friend. The following tips can help secure safety and happiness for both you and your pet while celebrating! 

Food

The best way to keep your pet safe from certain foods is to avoid all human food. According to avma.org the following foods can be very hazardous for pets: 

  • Chocolate is an essential part of the holidays for many people, but it is toxic to dogs and cats. Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, it’s safer to consider all chocolate off limits for pets.
  • Other sweets and baked goods. Not only are they often too rich for pets; an artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, candy and chewing gum, xylitol, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.
  • Turkey and turkey skin. Sometimes even in small amounts – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.
  • Table scraps. This also includes gravy and meat fat. Many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets, including onions, raisins and grapes. During the holidays, when our own diets tend toward extra-rich foods, table scraps can be especially fattening and hard for animals to digest and can cause pancreatitis.
  • Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.

Guests

Visitors in your home can cause anxiety and excitement for your furry family member. Help reduce stress and nerves during a holiday gathering with the following:

  • Let your guests know ahead of time that you have pets in the home. They may have allergies and will need to take precautionary measures. 
  • If guests want to bring their own pets over, be sure they have already spent time getting acclimated with each other. If not, politely decline or make a plan for a different play date.
  • Pet’s that don’t handle visitors well should have a quiet space to retreat to. Having a comfortable place with familiar toys where your guests won’t follow is best. If getting upset is common behavior we recommend talking to your vet. 
  • Watch the doors to be sure your pet doesn’t escape and get lost. With people entering and exiting, they will need to be watched closely for their safety. 
  • Make sure you keep any trash or food out of reach. 

Decorations

Getting into the holiday spirit involves decorating your home with a tree and other festive items. Although this is enjoyable for people it can be harmful to your pets. Keep the following in mind in order to keep your pet safe:

  • Candles. Never leave a pet alone around a candle in your home. Knocking one over could result in a fire.
  • Essential oils and potpourri. These can damage your pet’s eyes, mouth, and skin if ingested.  
  • The Christmas tree. If your pet tries to climb or play with the ornaments, it may tip over. Consider securing your tree in a corner or with fishing line.
  • Additives to the tree. If you add anything to the water of your tree, check the ingredients before you have it around your pets. 
  • Tinsel. Tinsel can cause serious damage to internal organs and blockages. Be sure to keep this away from your pets to avoid any possible surgery.  
  • Lights. Can cause harm when chewed.  

Plan for Emergencies

Ask your veterinarian in advance where you would need to take your pet in case of an emergency. Many places may close over the holidays, so be sure you have the correct hours and directions to get there. To help avoid any extra stress keep the following information handy by posting them in a location they are easy to find:

  • Oceanside Veterinary Clinic #843-795-7574 (or your veterinarian’s phone number)
  • 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic (if different)
  • ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 1-888-426-4435 (A fee may apply.)

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