We know how much our Orange County customers love their families, and how important it is to share the holidays with those you love. Many of you consider your pets to be part of the family – even like your own children. Here are our tips on how you can make sure your four-legged family members stay safe and healthy this holiday season. Consider it our gift to your furry friends!
- If you celebrate Christmas, you are most likely bringing a Christmas tree into your home. If you’re bringing home a live tree, securely anchor it so it won’t fall over—especially if you have cats (who will be prone to climb what they see as a lovely gift for them!). This will also prevent the tree water from spilling. The water can contain fertilizers that can cause an upset stomach for your pet. Plus, stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and if your pet drinks it, they could experience nausea or diarrhea.
- Cat owners, skip the tinsel. Although they love playing with it, and are awfully adorable when they do, cats can easily ingest it, leading to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. That will not make for a happy holiday!
- It’s the time of year for treats, candies and chocolates, but make sure to keep your pet’s feeding routine the same if possible during this time. Don’t feed them anything with chocolate or xylitol, and make sure they can’t access treats on the table, reach unattended plates or into the garbage. Some dogs just can’t resist digging through the trash!
- Is your dog a chewer? If so, be careful which type of toys you buy for them, or receive as gifts. The stuffing or pieces ripped from a plush toy can get lodged in their esophagus, stomach, or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are virtually indestructible; Kong toys are good examples of these, and many can be stuffed with dog-approved snacks to provide your pup with his own Christmas treat.
- The cliché of a cat playing with a ball of yarn is cute, but the reality can be dangerously different. The most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn, and loose little parts that (again) get caught in the digestive tract, and often require surgery. Stick to the red laser pointer, a ball too large to swallow, or a stuffed catnip toy.
- Did you know that mistletoe, holly and poinsettias are all poisonous to pets? They can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Many lily varieties can cause cats to suffer kidney failure, so choose silk plants or check the plants for toxicity on the ASPCA website.
- Unattended candles can be very dangerous to pets—and your Orange County home! Tails can easily be set alight or knock candles over, causing fire to spread throughout your house. (Don’t leave the house without extinguishing ALL candles and unplugging indoor Christmas lights!)
- Do not feed leftover bones to your pets, especially chicken or turkey bones! These can splinter and cause huge problems in your dog’s throat.
- Keep batteries and wires out of pets’ reach, as a wire can deliver a potentially deadly dose of electricity for cats and dogs, plus a punctured battery can burn the pet’s mouth and esophagus.
- Make sure your guests’ bags are safely tucked out of pets’ reach during parties and gatherings, preventing accidental ingestion of medications, sharp objects or foodstuffs.
- If you’re hosting a cocktail party around pets, it might be best to keep them in a room of their own. If guests leave their alcoholic beverages where a pet can drink them, it can cause illness, weakness, even a coma or respiratory failure.
By following these tips, you can ensure that the whole family has a safe and happy holiday season—without a midnight trip to the emergency veterinarian. A few of these tips could also save your Orange County home from a devastating fire, which will definitely ruin all holiday cheer. If you do have accidents this holiday season with fire or flooding, please call us immediately after the emergency service.