How can I make my pet safe during the holidays?

The question every veterinarian wishes they were asked before Christmas. How can I make my pet safe during the holidays? 

Nothing can spoil holiday cheer like an emergency visit to a veterinary clinic. After operating Veterinary Urgent care for six years here are my Holiday Safety Tips for your Pets:

  • Keep people food out of the reach of your pet, and ask your Uncle Eddy to do the same. We consume a lot of food during the Christmas holidays, and our pets have to watch. Do not feed your pet table food but have a few healthy pet treats available instead. 
  • Keep food away from the edge of the counters. Christmas is training time for counter surfers. Our dog, who does not get human food, unless Uncle Eddy stops over, grabbed a whole pizza off of the counter last week. (Confessions of a veterinarian). It was my fault; I left the pizza close to the edge. And sure enough, when I was not paying attention, she ate the whole thing. Eating a pizza was dangerous and could cause pancreatitis. Thankfully she is ok, but she was sluggish for a day or two.
  • Keep your pet away from human treats, especially those containing chocolate, xylitol, grapes/raisins, onions or other toxic foods.
  • Turkey and Turkey skin can cause pancreatitis even in small amounts.
  • Yeast dough can cause painful gas and dangerous bloating
  • Do not leave your pet alone with lit candles, decorated trees or potpourri 
  • Keep Christmas plants (especially holly, mistletoe, and lilies) out of reach of pets.
  • Leave the tinsel off your tree if you have a cat. Tinsel can cut the inside of a cat’s intestine.
  • Lockdown your Christmas tree to keep it from falling over if your dog bumps it or your cat climbs it.
  • Hanging lemon-scented car air fresheners in the tree may deter your cat from climbing it.
  • Please provide a safe place for your pet to escape the excitement (such as a kennel, crate, perching place, scratching post shelf or hiding place) if you are entertaining.
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