Holiday Season and Pet Safety

¡Hola a todos! Who is getting excited to celebrate a fan-favorite holiday season and the end of 2023 with our furry little friends? For most of us, it is certainly a time of joy and for many of us, a time for reflecting as well, but whatever it may be or mean to us, we need to remember that it can also be a time of danger for our pets, so I would like to address their safety during the holiday season with this blog. Now let us discuss what Christmas means to us and our kiddos!

As we all know, wintertime is associated with cold temperature-related dangers. Please make sure that your babies do not stay outside for too long and/or without supervision. Always consider wiping their paws down when getting back home as well, especially when the sidewalks may be salted. If needed and if your babies allow, you may also consider the use of dog shoes (plus they make a fashion statement lol). 

Without a Christmas tree and/or festive decorations, Christmas would not be Christmas for many of us, but we need to make sure that whatever we use as decorations will be pet-safe and may not be ingested or easily broken by our babies. I recommend avoiding having plants easily accessible to dogs or cats, as some of these plants can be very toxic to our babies. Please secure and hide any electric cords because some cats and dogs love chewing on them and they can be very dangerous!

A great holiday season has to have good food and lots of it! We do need to remember that many of the things we will be eating can be toxic or detrimental to our babies and their health. Many dogs and cats can have sensitive gastrointestinal tracts and be triggered even with just one bite of our food. Some of these gastrointestinal issues we may see range from mildly soft stools or a random episode of vomiting to even life-threatening conditions, including hemorrhagic gastroenteritis and severe pancreatitis, where hospitalization and intensive treatments may be required. We also need to be aware that many of us may accidentally drop some of our food and if our babies are around, they will likely get to them before we do, especially when there are kids and/or alcohol involved hahaha. I recommend to either inform everyone that may be present at a holiday gathering to avoid feeding table scraps to your babies or better yet, to consider putting your babies in a different area where they will not have access to where the food is being served and consumed. Lastly, please avoid offering your pups any fatty treats, but consider healthy treats instead, like baby carrots, apples, green beans, or cucumbers.

The Christmas season would not be Christmas without sharing gifts!! However, some gifts can be bad for our babies. With dogs, I recommend avoiding hard bones and toys because they can break our pup’s teeth and can also be accidentally swallowed, potentially causing significant problems. If you cannot make an indentation on the toy with your fingernail, the toy is not an appropriate one. Please avoid stuffed toys if your baby is known for destroying them and swallowing the stuffing. You can find durable toys in the market that can be safe for our babies. With cats, I recommend avoiding toys that have strings or toys that can break down into threads. Instead, you can consider catnip stuffed toys or interactive, robotic toys as options.

If you happen to have a Christmas tree, keep an eye on the gifts Santa may put under the tree because some dogs and cats may want to open them before anyone else does. 😉 Now I will admit I am not a fan of giving pups or kittens (or any pet) away as Christmas gifts because they are a serious, long-term commitment. However, if as a family or individual, you have decided that you are ready to commit to a fur baby or any pet, consider adopting as your first option, especially a senior pet or a baby with special needs.

Once the Christmas holiday has passed, it will be time to celebrate and welcome a new year! Unfortunately, this time is associated with fireworks and many of our pets are terrified of them! You may want to consider putting your babies in a room that is as far away from the outside walls as possible and with a white noise machine. If your loved one has anxiety issues, I recommend consulting with your veterinarian ahead of time regarding the available options to help with managing these anxiety issues.

Well, friends, I hope you have found this blog to be helpful! Let us take a moment to look back and reflect on the year we have had while looking forward to a new year that will hopefully bring us positive experiences as well as challenges. We all need to remember to be kind to ourselves and to the people around us because we are all going through different battles and experiences. I wish you all the best now and always and thank you SO MUCH for your support throughout this past year. ¡Feliz Navidad y Feliz Año Nuevo! ¡¡Abrazos para todos!!