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Watch what they eat Avoid giving pets turkey skin, dark meat, gravy or buttery side dishes. Fatty foods can cause diarrhea, vomiting or even pancreatitis. Never give your pet bones – bones can get lodged in your pet’s intestine or throat. Chocolate is toxic to pets so keep it out of reach and sight of your pets.
And of course, no alcohol for pets!
Keep them out of the kitchen Pets and people in a busy kitchen is an accident waiting to happen!
Beware curiosity Aluminum foil and plastic wrap that has been covering food can smell tempting to your pet but can be a choking hazard. The same goes for your garbage can.
Christmas ornament fragments can perforate the stomach; string, ribbon, and tinsel if swallowed may cause painful intestinal problems; frayed light cords cause shock or burns.
Bring pets indoors It is best to keep pets indoors during the winter months, but if this is not possible, outdoor pets must be provided with shelter. Their home should be elevated off the ground to prevent moisture accumulation and have a door of some kind to keep out winter winds, sleet, and snow. Shelters should be insulated or heated.
Water sources may be heated to permit constant access to unfrozen water; thermal units designed specifically for this purpose are readily available. Outdoor pets require extra calories to keep warm, so feed your pet according to its needs when the temperature drops.
In severely cold or inclement weather, no pet should be kept outside. Indoor pets should have sleeping quarters in a draft-free, warm area with their bed or mattress elevated slightly off the floor.
Watch for roaming cats Roaming cats, as well as house pets and wildlife, may climb onto vehicle engines for warmth during cold weather. Be sure to check under the hood before starting your vehicle and honk the horn to startle any animals seeking shelter inside.
Frostbite & snow removal salt Snow and salt should be removed from your pet’s paws immediately. Frostbitten skin is red or gray and may slough. Apply warm, moist towels to thaw out frostbitten areas slowly until the skin appears flushed. Contact Williams Animal Clinic as soon as possible for further care. Snow removal products should be stored out of the reach of pets and small children as their toxicity varies considerably.
Toxic Plants & Holiday/Winter Product Several plants and other items associated with the winter and holiday season can be toxic to your pets. The earlier you seek treatment, the better for your pet!
Low toxicity Poinsettia leaves/stems; balsam/pine/cedar/fir; angel hair (spun glass); Christmas tree preservatives; snow sprays/snow flock; tree ornaments; super glue; styrofoam; icicles (tinsel); and crayons/paints.
Moderate toxicity Fireplace colors/salts; plastic model cement
Moderate to high toxicity Holly berries and leaves; bubbling lights (methylene chloride); snow scenes (may contain salmonella); aftershaves/perfumes/alcoholic beverages; and chocolate (dark is more toxic than milk).
Highly toxic Mistletoe (especially berries); expoxy adhesives; and antifreeze. Angel hair is usually considered to be of low toxicity, it can irritate eyes, skin, and the gastrointestinal tract; the content of Christmas tree preservatives varies and often effects depend upon the amount ingested; styrofoam, small parts from Christmas tree ornaments and toys, as well as tinsel, can cause obstructions in the gastrointestinal tract; and chocolate, of any type, should never be given to a pet.
Antifreeze deserves special mention because even a very small amount can be rapidly fatal to pets.
Other Holiday Concerns If you plan to take your pet with you during holiday visits, make sure that your pet is welcome first (with all the activity, it may be better to board your pet – we offer boarding services at Williams Animal Clinic).
Do not allow pets to play with ribbons, yarn, or six-pack beverage holders and don’t put ribbons or yarn around your pet’s neck.
Cover or tack down electrical cords.
Train your guests! Your guests may not have pets themselves or may not know the above tips.
Improving the lives of people through their pets