The holiday season is a happy time for us humans. But what about our pets? We asked Dr. Wiles and Dr. Naugler with the RPG Innovations Vet Council how we pet parents can keep our pooches and kitties healthy and happy so they enjoy the holidays too.
Q: What are common health hazards for pets this time of year?
Fatty and toxic foods, foreign objects like string, tinsel and glass ornaments, and certain plants, can be dangerous for pets if they eat them.
To avoid this, don’t feed your pet table scraps and keep toxic foods out of their reach. Hang large ornaments high on a Christmas tree and avoid using decorations that can fall on the ground and break or be ingested. Keep your pets away from holiday candles and menorahs when they’re lit. Check out the APSCA’s list of plants that are toxic to pets at www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants before you buy any. And it’s a good idea to have the ASPCA poison control number on hand too. If your pet eats something you are concerned about, this should be the first call you make.
Stress can also make your pets ill. They have to deal with disrupted routines, unfamiliar objects invading their space, and perhaps strangers visiting. Look at your household from your pets view – get down on your knees if you have to – to see what they see and move things that might worry them. Watch them when kids come over. Try to prevent them being chased and grabbed. Put them in a quiet part of the house if the noise gets too loud. And make sure they get enough sleep!
Cold winter temperatures can make your pets miserable. Make sure they have warm beds to sleep in. Many companies make plug-in dog and cat beds for use when temperatures drop. For dogs with thin coats or short haircuts, dog sweaters will keep them warm outdoors.
Q: How can pet parents make sure their pets stay happy?
Pets crave love and affection and that’s what makes them happy. So even though you may have a crazy schedule, it’s important you continue to spend quality time with your pet on a daily basis. For dogs, that means regular walks. For both dogs and cats, play with them as often as possible. When you’re entertaining guests, give your pets treats to keep them occupied. Rawhide bones work great for dogs and some cats will eat semi-soft rawhides.
And finally, don’t forget to wrap a present for your pet so they can join in the fun when everyone opens their gifts! If you’re looking for gift ideas for pet-loving family members and friends, check out these special themed bundles, including Active, Cold Weather and Spa, which include a mix of popular pet care products.