I have worked many emergency shifts during the holiday seasons and I can surly tell you, there are many times people came into the clinic with issues that could have been prevented.
Pets & Cars
In cold weather, many outdoor cats and dogs may seek shelter underneath your car because its warm. A simple remedy is to make some noise in the morning before you start your car…bang on the hood and honk your horn before starting the engine. I have seen many a cat go flying out from under my car when living in the North.
Now, for my deaf and hard of hearing friends… we need to be mindful of our deaf and hard of hearing 4 legged friends too. Look around and near your car wheels to make there is not a deaf dog or cat just laying under or near your cars.
Now for the party people who have so much excitement in the home because of a company visiting and fireworks exploding for the New Year Beware, many animals will be fearful and just “take off” and run away from the house, putting themselves in danger of being hit by oncoming traffic in the street.
Keep your pets indoor in a secure comfortable place away from the party.
Indulging in Holiday Foods
Yes, it’s a festive time of year, and a time for relaxing, sharing, and partaking in good food…but that doesn’t mean that you should slip scraps of decadent food to your pets.
People will often feed harmful table scraps such as cookies, cake, food with gravy and salad dressing, processed meats (like spam, hot dogs, ham, or even turkey meat processed with nitrites and excess salt), spicy food, chocolate, chips and dip, turkey and chicken bones. It’s not worth the risk! Spoiled meats, custards, pies, fatty and rich foods often will create intestinal problems resulting in vomiting and diarrhea from “food poisoning,” or more serious problems such as gall bladder irritation, high blood sugar, and pancreatitis.
Try feeding appropriate real food instead. Safe and appropriate snacks include small amounts of meat, toast, vegetables (such as sweet potato, broccoli), and grains (such as white or brown rice). Please see kindred-caninesinmotion.org for whole food blog talk.
Pets should be fed BEFORE guests arrive, and kept in a separate room that is quiet and comfortable during the party (to avoid counter surfing while everyone is distracted). Set your pets up for success by keeping them out of range of the platters of food. Also, be mindful of your guests, and keep your pets away from kids with food or adults that have a tendency to feed scraps to your pets despite your polite requests not to.
Holiday Decor Considerations
When you decorate this year, be sure to use pet-friendly decorations. If you’ve got cats, this means no tinsel on the trees, and if you’ve got very food-oriented dogs, you probably can’t trim the tree with garlands of marshmallow or Cheerios. Supervise your pets around the tree to make sure they are not chewing or ingesting ornaments or drinking the water from the tree container (or using the tree as an indoor toilet)!
Pets & Pet Sitters
If you’re traveling this holiday season and have entrusted your pet’s care to a pet sitter, be sure to include the pet sitter’s name and phone number on a collar tag placed onto the collar. I’ve heard of many instances of stressed dogs escaping from the home while under the pet sitter’s care. Also be sure that your sitter knows what protocol to follow in the event that your pet goes missing. It’s a good practice to leave photos of your pet and provide a written description that the sitter can run in a Craigslist ad or call into the radio station if your pet goes missing. Preparation only takes a few minutes, but can mean a speedy return of your pet – it’s worth the effort! Stay safe this holiday season, and I’ll see you all in the New Year!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
Thank you for your kindness and generous donations that allowed us to help serve Service/Assistance Dogs in the SE United States in 2015
Gratefully; Dr. Joyce, Mr. Moore and the entire Kindred-Canines In Motion TEAM
Have a Safe 2016 New Year