Ho Ho Ho! The holiday season is upon us and here at MIVC, we want to keep you pets happy and healthy throughout this busy season. In today’s blog, Dr. Mulvaney has compiled a few tips to keep your canine and feline companions safe and secure amidst the shopping, decorating, and celebrating.

As you deck the halls, be sure to keep the decorations pet friendly with the following tips:

  1. Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. Keep in mind that all it takes to knock over a tree is the enthusiastically wagging tail of a larger dog or a climbing, curious cat. Use ornaments that are unbreakable on the lower boughs to avoid broken glass. A secure tree will also prevent the tree water from spilling, which can contain fertilizers that can be harmful to pets. Stagnant tree water can also be full of bacteria that can cause vomiting or diarrhea in our furry friends, so try to prevent your dog from drinking from that particular water bowl.
  2. Tempting Tinsel: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. Before you know it, you kitty could have swallowed a piece of the tinsel, which can lead to an obstruction and possible surgery to fix the problem. Make an effort to reduce access to this decoration or eliminate it entirely.
  3. Holiday Plants – Festive plants such as holly, mistletoe, and lilies can be toxic for pets. Holly and mistletoe if ingested can cause GI disturbances like vomiting and diarrhea. Lilies can cause serious kidney disease in cats, be sure to keep lilies out of the house or otherwise separated from your kitties.

We all love giving our pets special treats, but try to keep the human food and the items listed below away from pets.

  1.   Chocolate – dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the most dangerous for pets, particularly in small and toy breed dogs.
  2. Xylitol – an artificial sweetener found in various candy and chewing gum products, can cause low blood sugar, seizures, and liver damage in pets.
  3. Garbage Can – Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans. Dietary indiscretion of this sort can lead to intestinal problems including diarrhea, vomiting, and pancreatitis.
  4. Table Scraps – Fatty or spicy foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Intestinal blockage or other intestinal problems can result that are both life threatening and expensive to treat.

Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Here are some tips for safe pet gift giving:

  1. Dogs: Our canine friends have been known to tear their toys apart and swallow the pieces, which can then become lodged in the intestinal tract. Here at MIVC we like the Kong chew toys that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
  2. Cats: Every kitty loves to play with string, but unfortunately ribbon, yarn and other linear objects can get lodged in the intestines, which can require surgery to remove. Instead, get your kitty a new ball or mouse that is too big to swallow, and provide extra interaction and playtime.

Finally, here are couple things to keep in mind to make your pet’s holiday both comfortable and safe.

  1.   A Safe Spot: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their crate, or in a separate room away from the noise of the party.
  2. Update vaccinations and ID tags. Make sure your pet’s ID tags and microchips are updated with your current address and contact information. This should be done year-round, but is important during the holidays as we usually have many guests in our home. Guests aren’t always familiar with the day-to-day pet rules and could present opportunities where your pet could escape from the house.
  3. Emergency numbers: It is always good to have list of emergency numbers handy including:
  • Your local vet – Mercer Island Veterinary Clinic – 206-232-033
  • 24 hour emergency hospital – we like Seattle Vet Specialists – 425-823-4008
  • ASPCA – this is the pet poison control (888) 426-4435

From our family to yours, we hope you enjoy a safe and joyful holiday season with your pets!
Dr. Julia Mulvaney, DVM

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