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  • Writer's pictureCompanion Animal Rescue & Education

Keeping Pets Safe This Holiday Season

As winter approaches, the holiday season and cooler temperatures bring many joys, such as festive meals, holiday trimmings and family gatherings. Some look forward to the first snow, including those extra-fluffy pets who enjoy a romp outside in it. However, these seasonal festivities can bring certain risks for your family pet, so we have some helpful tips to help keep your pet safer this holiday season.

Toxic Temps- As temperatures drop, providing adequate shelter is a must. The rule is, if its too cold for you outside, its too cold for a pet, especially if they are acclimated to being indoors. Older pets are more prone to hypothermia, as they loose muscle and fat as they age. Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite, like shivering, discoloration on ears, paws or tail, or blistering. The use of toxic chemicals like anti-freeze also goes up. Even a small taste of anti-freeze can be extremely toxic, especially to - cats. Always wipe up any chemical spills as soon as possible.

Rodenticides – These present serious threats to pets and other animals in the ecosystem, as eating a poisoned rodent can kill any pets or wildlife that consume it. Consider using other traps and other deterrents, such as placing predatory bird decoys around food sources like birdseed bags or compost piles, or plug-in ultrasonic deterrents.

Ice melts – These keep the driveway clear, but can also be dangerous, especially those with high salt content. There are pet-friendly versions on the market, which contain less salt, and you can keep a towel handy to wipe your pets’ paws after coming inside. Veterinarians also see cases related to pets chewing on hand/feet warmers with a chemical base, so keep those out of reach of your pet.

Tempting Treats Here are a few toxic treats your pet may be tempted by this holiday season.

Festive Florals- Holiday floral arrangements are mighty attractive, but many contain plants that are toxic to pets, such as lilies, poinsettia, holly and mistletoe. Watch your pet carefully around these, or place in a higher location out of reach.

Table Treats- Those puppy eyes might lure you into giving up some turkey treats from your plate, but those rich trimmings can lead to gastrointestinal upset, or even pancreatitis.

Chocolates and sugar-free treats- People can tolerate chocolate, however these treats can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, hyperactivity, increased urination, muscle spasms, and seizures in your pet. Those sugar-free treats can cause life-threatening illness in pets, so if your pet consumes any, call your veterinarian immediately.

Don’t let this put a damper on your holidays and celebrations, as you can relax knowing you are taking steps to keep your pets safe this year. If you suspect your pet has gotten into any of these, just call your vet to get advice, instead of waiting for symptoms to develop. You and your pet can safely enjoy the season together!

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