We’re falling for fall and setting our sights on everything pumpkin-spiced. Before we know it, we’ll be talking turkey and trimming the tree. These next few months are bound to be a whirlwind, and it can be particularly challenging for us to remember to slow down, take a breath, and snuggle with our four-legged loves.
There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the “howlidays” with our pets, from Howloween right through to wishing everyone a Happy Mew Year. But we will also all be busy, and our pets may get into mischief. Read our list of holiday hazards and avoid a costly trip to the emergency room.
Pets and Halloween
Halloween is a fun holiday, and not much is cuter than a gaggle of costumed youngsters on your front porch on their quest for candy—unless it’s pets in costumes, because we love that, too. But Halloween brings some challenges for the four- legged beasts in your house.
- Candy — No Halloween candy is good for pets, but two kinds can land your dog in the emergency clinic faster than you can say, “Boo!” Chocolate, which contains the chemicals caffeine and theobromine, is dangerous for dogs. Fortunately, most Halloween hauls are milk chocolate, which has the lowest concentration of these chemicals, because the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous. If your dog has raided a goblin’s candy stash, call us right away.
- Costumes — Ghosts and goblins can be scary for pets. When trick-or-treating traffic is high, keeping your four-legged monsters safely tucked away in the comfort of a bedroom or their crate is best.
- Escape artists — Microchips reunite lost pets with their owners every day. On Halloween night, there will be a lot of action at your front door, and if your beloved cat or dog slips out while you’re doling out candy, your reunion will be more likely if she is microchipped and your registration information is up-to-date.
If you have pets, you already have plenty of reasons to be thankful. But, keep in mind that while you’re busy being thankful, your pet may be scheming up trouble.
- So much food — Thanksgiving is full of food—that’s one reason we love it. You should avoid giving your pet snacks from the table, but if you must, give her only small bites of turkey, and plain, mashed white or sweet potatoes and other vegetables. Keep the portions small, and avoid overly salted or buttered items.
- Hold the stuffing — Keep the stuffing on humans’ plates only. Stuffing is usually dressed up with onions and herbs, both of which can cause gastrointestinal distress in pets at best and red blood cell damage at worst.
- No bones about it — Don’t feed your pet bones. Bones, especially poultry bones, splinter easily and can cause oral and intestinal injuries if ingested.
- Take out the trash — Mind your trash can after dinner, because your pet will likely find it impossible to ignore a trash can full of food scraps. If your feast included a fried turkey, keep the used oil well out of your pet’s reach. Trust us—you don’t want to have to clean up the mess your 70-pound dog makes after a meal of turkey-infused oil.
- Forget some flowers — If you’re choosing a floral centerpiece, ask the florist to skip the lilies, which are highly toxic to cats. Cats are notorious for nibbling floral arrangements, and lily pollen groomed from their fur is enough to send them into kidney failure. If you have cats, never have lilies in your home, regardless of the season.
Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa fill December with love, light, and magic. These holidays are celebrated by different cultures, but they have many similarities, including feasts, family, friends, gifts, and candles. While you’re busy celebrating, keep an eye on your four-legged angels, because hazards abound.
- Alcohol is not for pets — The holidays are high season for indulging in beer, cocktails, or wine. But, alcohol is toxic to all pets, with petite pets at a particularly high risk. Alcohol-poisoning signs include stupor, staggering, lack of coordination, and vomiting.
- Festive foliage — Some traditionally festive foliage may be dangerous to your pets if ingested. Poinsettias are notorious, but they are only mildly irritating to pets, whereas mistletoe and holly are moderately to severely toxic if ingested, and should be kept safely out of reach.
- More feasting — In December, we feast yet again. Menus commonly include rich foods, like onion-laden latkes, buttery veggies, meats, and treats like chocolate gold coins, all of which can cause problems for your pet and lead to gastroenteritis or pancreatitis.
- Candles can burn — Whether you have a menorah or a Kinara, be aware that candles can be dangerous for pets. Cats are notoriously curious, and batting at a dancing flame may prove irresistible and result in a house fire or a burned pet.
We wish you the best during the upcoming busy howliday season, and we’re here if you need us. From microchip appointments to advice regarding potentially toxic doses of holiday goodies, we’re always only a phone call away.