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Holiday Safety for the Furry Family Members, Part 2

Holiday Pet Safety Part 2

Not everyone celebrates the holidays at home, and quite a few people bring Fluffy or Fido along for the festivities, especially if they are driving. But if your pet is not used to longer car trips this can cause anxiety. Before starting your journey, be sure that you have a safe place within your vehicle for Fido to ride. In your lap is not a good choice, especially in the front seat. Impact with the dashboard, or being crushed by an airbag are even worse for your pup than they are for you. Fido should ride in a travel kennel, or safely secured to a seatbelt with a harness. Be sure to keep a collar on Fluffy with current tags, and your contact information at your destination. In a new, unfamiliar location, or at a highway rest area, pets can become confused and disoriented if they escape from you. Keeping a current photo handy on your phone or printed in your bags is also helpful in case you become separated.

Please also consider carefully if Fido is going to be a welcomed house guest. Are there other pets in the home you will be visiting? Do all of the animals get along? Will there be very young children present? Is anyone allergic? While we love our pets and want to include them in everything, not all households are suited to furry visitors. You might miss Fluffy while you are traveling, but think about your hosts and whether bringing along a pet will make things more (or less) pleasant for them.

We all tend to overindulge during the holidays, however this can have much more serious consequences for our pets than it does for us. A sudden increase in fat in the diet can lead to severe pancreatitis, a condition that usually requires hospitalization and is potentially fatal. Not to mention that any new food can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. No one wants to have to clean up the aftermath of canine stomach upset during an already busy holiday season. And trips to the emergency vet are to be avoided as well, so please do not give bones of any kind to your furry family members.

Remember that many of the foods that we traditionally have around during this season are harmful to our pets. Macadamia nuts are highly toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, weakness and neurological symptoms. Raw dough, especially if it contains yeast, can cause stomach upset and possibly intestinal rupture as it will continue to increase in size after it’s been swallowed. Raisins (and grapes) can cause kidney failure in dogs, especially if they are older or have other health concerns. Chocolate is everywhere during the holidays, yet it can be fatally toxic to your pets. Even artificial sweeteners need to be avoided, especially Xylitol, as your pet’s body will react to them leading to dangerously low blood sugar and possible liver failure.

Thankfully in Louisiana we do not often have to deal with prolonged freezing weather, though we certainly did last week! As a result of our typically mild winters, many people are not familiar with common cold season dangers to pets that our northern neighbors deal with every year. For instance, the road/sidewalk salt that is spread on driveways and sidewalks in freezing weather can be very dangerous to pets if they lick their feet after walking on it. In some instances exposure to de-icing agents can lead to chemical burns on paw pads. Be sure to wipe off Fido’s feet if there is a chance he came into contact with salt or chemicals.

Antifreeze is a significant and potentially fatal danger to pets (and children) due to it’s sweet flavor. Pets that consume even a small amount of antifreeze will suffer from acute kidney failure, and their chances of survival are not good unless they are seen immediately by a vet. Keep all antifreeze safely stored off the ground, in sealed containers, and be sure to wipe up spills completely.

 

We hope this information is helpful during the holidays and the rest of the winter (such as it is).

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

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