Holiday Safety Reminders for Pet Owners

Many of us own pets; or – in many cases – they own us. Either way, they’re a loving part of our lives and important members of our families. As the holidays approach, we pet owners at the Billy Johnson law firm want to share a few thoughts from the American Veterinary Association about how we – along with our loving critters – can have a happy, safe holiday season.

Keep people food away from pets. If you want to share holiday treats with your pets, make or buy treats formulated just for them. The following people foods are ”keep-aways” from pets:

  • Chocolate – is as essential to the holidays as wrapped presents and festive gatherings. But it’s toxic to dogs and cats. The danger varies based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ingest. But the safest bet is to keep all chocolate off-limits for every pet.
  • Other sweets and baked goods – are also on pets’ “do not eat” list. They’re not only too rich to digest, many contain artificial sweeteners and xylitol, which cause liver failure in dogs.
  • Turkey and turkey skin – even in small amounts can cause life-threatening pancreatitis in pets.
  • Table scraps –should be kept away from pets. Many foods that are healthy for us can be poisonous to pets, especially if they contain, onions, raisins and grapes. Plus, extra-rich foods are usually part of our holiday diets, which can be hard for our pets to digest and can also cause pancreatitis in some instances.
  • Yeast dough – can also cause digestive problems for pets, painful gas and, for some – especially older pets with delicate diets, potentially dangerous bloating.

Check out baked treat recipes just for dogs, like gingerbread biscuits and peanut butter biscuits cut into festive shapes.

  • Pet Presents – Your pets will surely love any gift you choose for them (though the cats might feign aloofness – bless ‘em). Just be sure you pick toys that are safe and made just for them. Child toys may have pieces that easily come off that can cause choking. Here’s a good idea. De-tag any doggie toys if you plan on wrapping them.  Then let your dog open the gift on his own.  Take videos.  They might be YouTube material.
  • Christmas trees – can tip over if pets climb on them or try to play with the lights and ornaments. Try tying your tree to the ceiling or a doorframe with fishing line to steady it.
  • Christmas tree water additives – can be hazardous for pets. Don’t add aspirin, sugar, or anything to the water for your tree if you have indoor pets.
  • Ornaments – Broken ones can cause injuries, and ingested ornaments can cause intestinal blockage or even toxic shock.
  • Tinsel and other holiday decorations – can be tempting for pets to eat. But they can cause intestinal blockages. Breakable ornaments or decorations also cause injuries.
  • Electric lights can cause burns (or worse) when a curious pet chews the cords.
  • Flowers and festive plants – Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are common holiday plants that can be dangerous and even poisonous if ingested by pets. Poinsettias can be trouble as well. Here are ASPCA lists of plants that are toxic to dogs and cats.

Plan in Advance

Make sure you know how to get to your 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic before there’s an emergency. Talk with your veterinarian in advance to learn where you need to take your pet. Always keep these numbers posted in an easy-to-find location in case of emergencies:

  • Your veterinarian’s clinic phone number
  • 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic (if different)
  • ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 1-888-426-4435 (A fee may apply)

And from all of us at the Billy Johnson Law Firm —

The Merriest of Christmases and Happiest of New Years!

If you have questions or concerns about a personal injury-related issue, or give us a call at 606-433-0682.

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