Nothing can spoil holiday fun more than losing your pet, or taking them on an emergency trip to the veterinarian. Your four-legged friends can be part of the festivities, but be aware of holiday dangers, so your celebration is a happy one. The Palisades Veterinary Hospital team checked with six especially outspoken pets—here are their comments about the Thanksgiving holiday.
Pet #1: Freddy, the Chihuahua: “I like to scoot out the door when people are coming and going.”
In the midst of holiday busyness, your pet may find a way to sneak outside, so now is the time to ensure their nametag and microchip are current. This is the first, and most essential, step in holiday preparation.
Pet #2: Chloe, the Siamese cat: “I want a place to get away from it all.”
Your pet may prefer a quiet retreat from the holiday activity, rather than being in the midst of the hustle and bustle. Their safe space can be a separate room or crate with some treats, toys, water, a comfortable bed, a litter box for a cat, and perhaps a food puzzle to keep them occupied. Pheromone analogs, such as Adaptil for dogs or Feliway for cats, can provide a greater sense of well-being. If your pet becomes especially anxious during holiday activities, contact us at Palisades Veterinary Hospital, and we can suggest calming medications.
Pet #3: Jordan, the Labrador retriever: “Decorations are the most exciting chews!”
Take a good look around your house from your pet’s perspective to ensure that the type and location of your holiday decorations won’t cause problems. Thanksgiving corn cob decorations may look like delightful chew toys to your pet, but they can’t digest them, and they could become intestinal blockages that require emergency treatment. Pets can also tip over candles and burn themselves or cause a fire, and can severely damage their mouth, eyes, and skin from potpourris. Avoid flower arrangements with lilies if you have cats, because they are extremely toxic to them, and can cause kidney failure.
Pet #4: Oliver, the orange tabby cat: “I hope they don’t make me wear that hat again.”
Although we enjoy seeing our pets in pilgrim costumes and fun outfits, some like to dress up, and others are pretty clear clothing is not for them. If your pet agrees to participate, their outfit should be the right size, comfortable, with no strings or buttons that can be eaten. Costumes and outfits should be worn only under supervision, to avoid your pet getting tangled up or chewing on them.
Pet #5: Chelsea, the miniature schnauzer: “I love all the fun food around!”
Holiday candy must be safely stored out of paws’ reach. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate or baking cocoa, is toxic to pets, and small amounts can still be a problem. Sugar-free candy or xylitol in baked goods causes a dangerous drop in a pet’s glucose levels. Grapes or raisins can harm their kidneys, and onions or garlic should also be avoided. If you think your pet has ingested any of these products, contact us or the ASPCA Poison Control Center 24-hour hotline for guidance.
The Thanksgiving dinner table offers another set of potential hazards. Resist those begging brown eyes, and the urge to share your stuffing or turkey skin with your pet, because they may end up with diarrhea or pancreatitis from a sudden fatty food change. Don’t forget to clear up the food and take out the trash, in case your pet goes exploring for any remaining tidbits. Remember—leftovers are for humans, not pets.
Pet #6: Quinn, the standard poodle: “Car rides make me sick.”
Some pets are born travelers, while others would rather the world not move so fast. If you are planning Thanksgiving travel, check your pet’s identification, and use a safety belt for your dog and a carrier for your cat. Keeping your pet strapped in and contained will make them feel less anxious and more secure. If your pet has problems with travel anxiety or carsickness, contact us for medications to make their trip go more smoothly.
Although our furry interviewees have mixed feelings about holiday celebrations, they are clearly faced with hidden dangers. The Palisades Veterinary Hospital team is looking forward to the upcoming holidays, and hope they will be a fun time for your two- and four-legged family members. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about how to keep your pet safe and comfortable during the fall holiday season.