Some of our more cherished holiday traditions pose unique dangers to your pet’s safety, as do the dropping temperatures. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your animal companions safe during this festive season and in the icy months to come:
- Skip the tinsel if you have cats. They’re very attracted to shiny objects and you don’t want them ingesting tinsel.
- Avoid poisonous plants and foods. Keep pets away from holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies, which are toxic to animals. Chocolate, raisins, grapes, onions, currants, macadamia nuts and walnuts are also on the naughty list for pets, as these foods can make them seriously ill. Also, beware xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in chewing gum, candy and peanut butter) which can cause illness and even death.
- Tether that Tannenbaum. Secure your tree to a doorway or strong drapery pole with fishing line to keep it from falling over if your dog bumps it or your cat tries to climb it.
- Watch those boozy beverages! It doesn’t take much for small animals to get alcohol poisoning, which can cause serious health complications.
- Isolate your pet if necessary. Put your pet in another room with toys and a bed when having a party or large gathering. This way your dog, and especially your cat, will be less stressed.
- Dry off after being outside. Remove ice, moisture, salt, and chemicals from your pet with a towel after every walk or outdoor excursion. Pay special attention to paws and the space between their toes – frostbite is a real danger. And try protecting your pet’s paws and pads with a thin coating of petroleum jelly before heading out.
- Keep up with grooming. While you don’t want to shave long-haired dogs, you do want to keep the coat and paws trimmed to minimize clinging ice balls, de-icing chemicals, and salt crystals.
- Beware of antifreeze and deicers. Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol. And a word on deicers: most are full of chemicals that are dangerous to animals. Even those labeled “pet-safe” are made with urea, and while they cause less irritation, they’re also less effective at melting ice.
- Provide more food and plenty of water. Pets burn extra energy trying to stay warm, so feeding your pet a bit more in winter can provide supplemental calories. Hydration is also extremely important, and pets need several unfrozen sources of water.
If you have questions about winter safety for your pet, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (630) 297-4709.