iStock_000051508414_Large.jpgThe holidays are a time for traveling, gathering over home-cooked delights, attending parades…and a pet emergency? Indeed, as we embark on the year’s most chaotic and busy season, it’s important to remember that even the smallest nibble on the wrong food can place a pet in critical care. After this brief overview on holiday pet safety, we can all offer thanks and gratitude for a healthy pet.

The Main Event

How can we expect a pet to sit idly by while we chomp on a juicy turkey leg? Even the most well-mannered pet probably can’t help but lick those chops once or twice during the family meal. Save yourself the trouble and show your pet how much you care by offering a few small cubes of well-done white meat before everyone sits down. To avoid a common holiday pet emergency, be sure that meat is thoroughly cooked (undercooked or raw foods can cause salmonella poisoning) and is completely de-boned.

Taking Out the Rubbish

If your pet fails to score a tasty tidbit before or during a holiday meal, you can bet he or she will be eyeing the trash bin. All the plate scraping can be too much temptation for a hungry, curious pet. Instead, enlist a volunteer to take your pet on a nice brisk walk while you clean up the dishes and take out the trash. Once the scraps, bones, and turkey carcass are out of the house, make sure the lid to your outside trash can is secure and cannot be disturbed by your pet.

Before you sit down, tidy up all the leftovers so Fluffy or Fido can’t get into them. If you plan on using plastic wrap or aluminum foil to cover your food, keep in mind that your pet could ingest these materials, creating a serious intestinal obstruction. Be sure to store all food in closed cabinets or the refrigerator.

The last thing you want to do after the tryptophan kicks in is rush to our hospital for a pet emergency. Having to deal with a case of pet pancreatitis or undergo a life-saving surgery is certainly not the way your pet wants to spend the holidays either.

Holiday Pet Safety

Holiday food is abundant, but which foods are strictly prohibited for your pet? The following items are definite no-no’s:

  • Chocolate
  • Anything containing xylitol (a popular sugar substitute)
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Garlic
  • Yeast dough
  • Onions
  • Nutmeg
  • Sage, chives, and other herbs

Please consult this list from the ASPCA for more information regarding holiday pet safety and which people foods to avoid.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any dangerous food, please contact us immediately. We may run certain veterinary diagnostics in our in-house lab if your pet displays any of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Listlessness
  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Fatigue

Better Safe than Sorry

Whether your pet is young or an aging senior, we’d much rather have him or her remain at home with you and your family during the holidays. This is a season for goodwill and good health, and your friends at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center hope this guide to holiday pet safety is helpful. Please contact us with any other questions or concerns.