While it has been a warm winter in many parts of the country, snow and cold are probably just around the corner. Make sure you are ready to protect your pet from common winter and holiday hazards by learning to spot them.
Pets are attracted to the smell and taste of antifreeze, but even just a few drops, like the amount your car leaks onto the floor of the garage, can kill. Keep your pet away from antifreeze, and take him to the vet immediately if he starts acting like he is intoxicated, which are the earliest warning signs of antifreeze poisoning.
Since it’s cold, you might not be as worried about dehydration, but if your pet’s water supply is frozen, she could get dehydrated. Make sure there is fresh water at all times; using a heated bowl if the water needs to be outdoors.
3. Holiday Plants
Many holiday plants, like poinsettias, are poisonous. Keeping the plant off the floor is not sufficient protection, because it will drop leafs. Opt for fake ones, or keep a very close eye on them to protect your pet. Ivy, mistletoe, balsam, cedar, pine, fir, and holly, juniper, Jerusalem Cherry, and hibiscus which are seasonal plants for this time of year have varying degrees of poisoning from moderate to toxic if nibbled or eaten
by curious pets.
If you have an older pet, they may suffer from arthritis when the weather starts to get cold, just like an older person. While this is not a life-threatening condition by any means, it is uncomfortable. Talk to your vet about ways you can alleviate this pain, but do not give human medications.
6. Decorations and Christmas Ornaments
These are tempting particularly to cats as many of them swing and look like toys. Hang decorations at a height where little paws cannot reach them. Avoid using tinsel or ribbon like ornaments where they can be ingested as although they are not toxic, they can cause choking or intestinal obstruction. Tinsel that mysteriously disappears from the tree is all too common an occurrence. No one wants an emergency trip to the vet during the turkey dinner!
If buying a live tree, always ask if your tree has been sprayed with insecticides or chemicals to extend the life of the tree. If so take proper precautions as they may be poisonous to pets. If your tree has been treated, be aware that these chemicals can also get into the water of the tree base so ensure that your pet does not drink from the tree stand. Cover the base of the tree stand with some sort of screen or barrier method.
Be especially cautious if pets are in your kitchen while preparing food. Although it is an exciting and busy time of year, our favorite four legged furry companions may not be safe in your kitchen particularly if you have a lot of guests, noise and bustle, new smells etc. Turkey bones snatched from the kitchen, rum laced eggnog, beer and chocolate can pose a risk and can be lethal if ingested. The same is true for poultry (splintered bones), rich seasonings, animal fat and sometimes food off the table in general, can easily upset an animal’s digestive system. Give your pet a few of their favorite treats during special meals or gathering, as an alternative to letting them eat things that may pose a risk.
Finally be especially cautious if Fido likes to hang out in the kitchen and oversee the activity. Tripping over a pet in the kitchen with a hot container can cause severe scalding and burns to both you and your loved one.
5. Lack of Exercise
Don’t forget to spend time with your pet even though it is a busy time of year. Long walks and playtime is important and helps keep the level of stress in check especially for your pet when there may be new sights, sounds, people and smells, to which they are not accustomed. It’s hard to get out there and exercise when it’s snowing, but your pet needs to be walked. Lack of exercise for weeks on end will harm his health. A short brisk walk is a great way to get outdoors even if just for a few minutes particularly when the weather is too cold to be out for an extended period.