The winter holidays are a wonderful time of year to enjoy family and friends. But, with all the hustle and bustle of celebrations, decorations, travelings, and gatherings, we might create potential hazards for our pets and not even know we have done so.

Holiday travel plans, visitors or a slight change to the daily routine can over-stress your pet, causing them to hide or shy away in fear. Make sure this holiday season is all fun for your pet as well by being attentive to their needs and keeping their safety at top priority.

Holiday Pet Hazards

Here are some tips that can help you and your pet to enjoy a stress-free and safe holiday season together.

Follow the regular routine: Try to maintain regular feeding and exercise schedules as much as possible. Provide them with a little extra attention to let them know they are loved.

A quite space of their own: Provide your pet his own safe place to retreat to. A quiet space with fresh water and a place to snuggle where your pet can go to get away from the noise and be alone anytime he wants.

Socialize with caution: Don’t force your pet to interact with new guests or unfamiliar pets. Allow your dog to initiate the contact.

Identification tags and microchips: Make sure your pet has a proper identification with your current contact information – particularly a microchip with up-to-date, registered information. That way, if they do sneak out, they’re more likely to be returned to you. If your pet isn’t already microchipped, talk to your veterinarian about the benefits of this simple procedure.

Pets and Holiday Decorations Hazards

Holiday Decoration and Pet Risk

If you have a dog like mine that eats and drinks anything first only to wonder later if it was worth it-  never leave your pet unattended around your plants and decorations. It's really not nice to have such lovely decorations and find your pet biting them down. Also, chewing on decorations can result in choking, mouth injuries, intestinal blockage if ingested.

Christmas trees can make the holidays festive, but precaution needs to be taken to make sure it won't pose a risk for your pet. Some pets like to climb, hide under or play around the tree which might accidentally tip and fall, causing possible injury. Ensure your trees are tied to the ceiling or doorframe and securely fenced. This will also, prevent your pet from drinking the tree water which might contain fertilizers and pine needles that can cause stomach ache or puncture holes in the intestine. Most importantly, keep the electric wires and batteries out of your pet's reach as it can lead to potentially lethal electrical shocks and burns to the mouth.

Pets and Holiday Food Dangers

If your dog is food-oriented, begging behavior can increase at this time of year. Also, it may be tempting but don't give in to feeding your pet from the table scraps and make sure your guest as well won't. Many holiday foods can cause illness, an upset stomach, pancreatitis or be toxic to your pet. During the holiday season, we are already going to gain additional 5-20 pounds from overeating. That's not what you would want to achieve with your pet.

If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where your pets cannot reach. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure. Ensure that your pet joins the festivities in other fun ways that won't lead to costly medical bills or risks your pet's life.

To get into the holiday spirit, if you are looking to stuff your pet's stockings with treats and toys. Make sure that the treats are all natural and healthy for your pet consumption. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, too big to swallow and doesn't contain harmful chemicals or dyes. The chemicals or dyes present in the chew toys can cause risks to your pet's health.

Happy Howlidays!

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