by Lauren Means
The winter holidays are meant to make memories with your loved ones… this includes your pets! While it’s fun to include them in the festivities, there are some key things to keep in mind so your pets stay safe while celebrating.
- Never shave long-haired pets down to the skin in the winter. They are furry for a reason. If something happens and you must, or if your pet is short-haired, consider a sweater when they must be out in the cold.
- Like humans, your pet can get eczema-like symptoms too. Keep the house from being too dry with a humidifier, dry them off if they are in wet conditions outside, and limit bathing. If they do get bathed, use a moisturizing shampoo.
- Wipe their paws after being outside and more frequently if on a long walk. Ice, salt, and other chemicals can be irritating to even the toughest paws. You might also consider booties or use vaseline as a protectant before going outside.
- If it’s too cold for YOU, it’s too cold for your PET. Please bring outdoor pets inside when conditions get too severe and make sure they have appropriate shelter and food/water while they are outside.
- DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS IN THE CAR! Just like cars heat up quickly in the summer, they act as freezers in the winter. If your pet cannot come inside with you, leave them at home.
- Pets are family, not toys. While it may seem like a good idea, it’s best to not give a pet as a Christmas/holiday gift. Pets are a lifelong member of your family. You need to make sure it is the right time for your family to take on a new pet and all the training that comes with it. It can also be hectic during the holidays, so maybe give a stuffed animal symbolizing the pet you are giving and bring the pet into the family at a more calm time. If you are considering adding a pet to your family, please adopt! There are many loving animals just waiting for their fur-ever home to come along.
Wintertime Pet Poisons
Antifreeze: Just like coolant in the summer, antifreeze is very toxic to animals. It doesn’t have a foul odor or repellant so it’s something that can be easily consumed by dogs and cats. Also, if you spill antifreeze, clean it up quickly and if possible choose products with propylene glycol over ethylene glycol.
Plants: Poinsettias, lilies, holly, and mistletoe can all be toxic to dogs and cats. If you have pets keep these plants out of the house and monitor environments outside of the home when visiting family and going to holiday events.
Tinsel and Ornaments: Cats love shiny things, so tinsel is a natural attraction. It may seem cute when they play with it, but if they ingest the tinsel it could lead to severe GI problems including intestinal rupture. Some ornaments may be made with chemicals that are toxic if ingested so keep them out of the reach of curious pets.
Liquid Potpourri: We love the smells of the season. Potpourri and candle waxes that are heated with a flame can be hazardous in two ways. First, the heat/flame can cause burns. Second, the potpourri can be poisonous if ingested. Use with caution.
Holiday Foods and Alcohol: Chocolate, xylitol, fruitcake ingredients, and alcohol can be very dangerous for pets if ingested, even fatal. Fatty scraps and leftover bones can cause severe GI issues too. The best advice is to stick with their normal food and maybe spring for a pet-specific treat for the holidays.