Winter and Holiday Pet Safety

Winter is approaching, and while it may seem like common sense to keep your pet out of trouble, there may be hazards you haven’t considered. We want your pet to stay healthy and protected just as much as you do, so read on for essential winter and holiday pet safety recommendations. Feel free to call us if you have any questions!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Cheerful dog labrador is sitting in Santa Claus hat. Golden retriever is waiting for the holiday at home.

Holiday Hazards

Certain foods can be highly problematic for your pet, so avoid handing out or leaving these foods where your pet can reach them:

  • Bones can cause choking, internal injury, and bowel obstruction
  • Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks can cause anemia
  • Grapes, raisins, and currants are likely to cause acute kidney failure if they’re ingested
  • Walnuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans may cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, or fever
  • Seasonings like nutmeg and sage can give your pet digestive upset
  • Chocolate, especially dark and baker’s chocolate, can be extremely toxic, resulting in an increased heart rate, muscle tremors, and vomiting and diarrhea
  • Any greasy or buttery foods are also probably too rich for your pet and should be avoided
  • Caffeine (soda, coffee, etc.) and alcohol (wine, beer, and hard liquor) are also very harmful to pets

Decorations might cause trouble for you and your pet, too:

  • The needles and sap from live Christmas trees, along with the tree water, can be toxic
  • Glass ornaments break easily and can harm your pet if they step on them or accidentally ingest some of the pieces
  • Tinsel and long stringy garlands are choking hazards as well
  • Holly, mistletoe, Christmas cactus, and Jerusalem cherry are highly toxic holiday plants, so keep them far out of reach or avoid bringing them into your home
  • Candles can be a serious fire hazard, but flameless candles can provide the same warmth and cheer to your home—without the risk!
French bulldog in red jacket on the walk in forest

Don’t Leave Your Pet Out in the Cold

Even with a thick coat, pets can still succumb to the cold if left outside for too long. They can even get frostbite! Their ears, nose, and paw pads are especially vulnerable. If you want to take your dog on daily walks this winter, get a sturdy jacket in their size and a quality set of boots to protect their paws from ice, snow, and sidewalk salt. These items will not only keep your pet comfortable, but also give them much-needed protection from the elements.

For pets that need to stay outside for any reason, make sure they have a warm, sturdy shelter elevated a few inches off the ground that offers protection from wind and sleet. Include plenty of soft, dry bedding for your pet to nest in, and be sure they have fresh food and water within reach. Outdoor pets should always have a collar with updated ID tags, and be microchipped if possible.

Use Antifreeze Responsibly

If you keep antifreeze in your garage, keep the containers sealed tightly and either on a high shelf or inside a cabinet. The sweet smell and taste of antifreeze is attractive to animals, and if consumed in a large enough quantity, can be fatal. Clean up any puddles or spills you see in your garage or driveway.

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