The holidays are in full swing, and that means it’s a busy time for everyone. Shopping, travel and parties are at the forefront of everyone’s plans, and many of us like to include our pets in those plans. Taking a few precautions can help ensure the holidays are warm and fun for everyone in the family, including your pets.
Holiday Pet Travel Plans
If you are traveling with your pets this season, make sure you plan ahead and have the necessary paperwork and health certificates required by airlines and your points of destination. A quick phone call or web search can yield you most of the information you’ll need. However, should you run into problems, give us a call and we can help obtain the information for you.
If you are traveling and plan on boarding your pets, be sure to make your reservations early! Pet boarding facilities in Spartanburg book up fast for the holidays, so an early reservation is a must.
Finally, before traveling, make sure any pet medications or special foods are refilled beforehand so there will be no gaps in treatment protocols.
Holiday Pet Treats
As we celebrate the holidays, remember that what is good for us may not be good for our pets. Food does not equal love. While this time of year is celebrated with lots of delicious food, we need to be mindful that the things we enjoy can be very harmful to our pets. Instruct your guests to not feed pets from the table. If you insist on treating your pets, you can prepare some pet-safe holiday treats, and you and your guest can feed those. Special pet treats also make great stocking stuffers for your good dogs and cats. There are tons of recipes online, so search around and let your imagination run wild.
Be mindful of your decorative plants this time of year. Although they may look beautiful, some decorative holiday plants can be toxic to your pets – including holly, mistletoe and amaryllis. A list of toxic plants for pets can be found on the ASPCA’s site.
On the Christmas tree, hang ornaments with small pieces or ones that can easily break out of reach of curious dogs or cats who may play with our eat them.
Take Care in Winter
Last but not least, winter is upon us. As the weather turns cold and temperatures dip below freezing, keep pets indoors. If your pets must spend time outdoors, provide a draft-free, dry shelter, preferably slightly off the ground, with cedar shavings, straw, or blankets for warmth. Make sure outdoor water bowls for cats and dogs don’t freeze over (or when they do, refresh them with clean water). After walking dogs in snow or ice, dry them off, taking special care to dry their paws.
Additionally, antifreeze is used more often. Be careful of how and where you store and discard antifreeze, which has an alluring smell to some pets. The only successful treatment if a pet has consumed antifreeze has to be initiated almost immediately after ingestion, and it is extremely expensive. A delay of a few hours means permanent and irreversible kidney damage.
Everyone here at Pine Street Animal Hospital wants to wish you, your family, and your beloved pets a safe and happy holiday season, and a very Merry Christmas!