Dog and Cat Holiday Hazards! Keep Your Pet Safe!

I love a good party which is probably why you won't be surprised when I tell you that I also love the holidays! The calendar year is full of fun and exciting holidays (Christmas and Halloween just happen to be two of my favorites!). Did you know that while the holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, they can, in fact, be dangerous to your beloved dog and or cat? How you ask? Well, let me tell you!

Chocolate is BAD for dogs and cats!
Chocolate is BAD for dogs and cats!

Valentine's Day

Ahhh…the holiday of love! What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Valentine's Day? NO….not THAT! C'mon people, this is a G rated HUB! If you are like me, then you probably think of chocolate! Each and every year (whether she wants it or not) I buy my wife a huge red Valentine's heart filled with delicious chocolates. Ok, ok, you got me (I end up eating half) but hey, that's not the point! The point is that while safe for humans to eat, chocolate can be dangerous to your dog and your cat's health. Chocolate contains the compound theobromine, which is a diuretic as well as a cardiac stimulant! If your dog or cat eats a large amount they can suffer serious medical issues or even death!

Before you get upset, know that when I say it takes a LOT of chocolate, I mean a lot! It would take approximately two pounds of milk chocolate to seriously poison a 7 pound dog, however, baker's chocolate is a different story. Baker's chocolate contains ten times the amount of theobromine as milk chocolate, so the same seven pound dog could become ill after eating just a few ounces. The moral of the story, keep chocolate (and I mean, ALL chocolate) away from your pet. Next Valentine's Day, gift your pet with some extra love and attention…after all, isn't that what Valentine's Day is all about?!

Fireworks often scare dogs and cats!
Fireworks often scare dogs and cats!

Fourth of July

Though you may love fireworks, trust me, your cat and or dog do NOT! Fireworks can be downright scary to your beloved four-legged friend. If you had the powerful hearing that dogs and cats do, you would be running for the hills as well!

On the fourth of July, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you keep your dog and cat safely indoors. Put them in a quiet room (if possible, with no windows) so that they are detached from the noisy celebrations going on outside. Put some soft music on the radio, give them some toys to play with and of course, some food and water (if you have a cat, don't forget about his litter box!). This is especially important to do if you have a pet that is terrified of thunder storms. I can guarantee that if your dog or cat is afraid of thunder, they will really freak out when they hear fireworks! Let your dog and or cat out of their "safe room" once the celebrations outside have died down.

I hate to even bring this up, however, I must reiterate the importance of bringing your pets INSIDE on the fourth of July. Some people in this world are not very kind…especially to animals. There are sick people in the world that find it funny to throw fireworks at cats and dogs. For this reason alone, PLEASE do not leave your pet outside on the fourth of July!

Keep your black cat safe on Halloween!
Keep your black cat safe on Halloween!

Halloween

I LOVE Halloween, however, my dogs hate it! No, they aren't afraid of the kids noisily running around the neighborhood, and they don't seem to mind the constant knocks at the door but what they do mind (and I blame my wife for this) are the Halloween costumes they are stuffed into each and every year (but hey, that's another story entirely!). First of all, I must once again warn you of chocolate poisoning. Halloween candy (especially chocolate) is delicious! However, as I mentioned above, it can be downright dangerous if ingested by your dog and or cat. Keep all Halloween candy away from your animals! With that said, let me fill you in on some other Halloween pet dangers.

Ahhhh, the myth of the black cat! Our poor, black kitty friends sure do get the short end of the stick. Did you know that most black cats that end up in shelters NEVER leave!? This is because people are superstitious and are actually afraid to adopt black cats. My cat Norman is an all black cat and he is one of the best cats I have ever owned! In fact, I found him as a stray and welcomed him into my home with open paws…oops, I mean arms. Because of the so called black cat superstition it is very important that you keep your black cat inside on Halloween. In fact, you should play it safe and keep him inside ALL OF THE TIME! If you own a cat that just so happens to give birth a few months before Halloween, do not adopt out any of the all black kittens until Halloween has passed (sad, I know…but better to be safe rather than sorry!).

Make sure the costume you pick out for your dog or cat is safe and comfortable!
Make sure the costume you pick out for your dog or cat is safe and comfortable!

If you hand out candy on Halloween it is very important to secure both your dog and cat so they cannot escape when you open the door for trick-or-treaters. If you are not going to secure your dog and or cat, make sure they are wearing proper identification…just in case they do get out! As for jack-o'-lanterns…I probably don't have to tell you to put them out of your pet's reach! Obviously, candles and fire are not dog or cat friendly!

Now, back to the wonderful world of dog and cat Halloween costumes. If you are so inclined to dress your pet up, make sure that the costume you choose is safe for your furry friend. Make certain that there are no tight elastic bands around your pet's neck. Elastic bands can cause breathing issues, not to mention discomfort. Also, be sure that all parts of the costume are secure so that your pet does not eat them (buttons, snaps and pom poms can cause choking if ingested!). Now, on to the next holiday, Thanksgiving! Gobble, gobble!

NO turkey or chicken bones for your pet!
NO turkey or chicken bones for your pet!

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday! Nothing beats family, turkey and football! Believe it or not, there are several pet warnings that I must share with you that have to do with this yummy holiday. First of all, food! Though Thanksgiving is a great excuse for YOU to chow down, it does not mean that your dog or cat should too! Turkey bones are extremely dangerous and can pose serious choking hazards! Even small bones that you may think are harmless can lodge in your pet's throat, stomach and intestines. Also, if at all possible, avoid feeding your dog poultry skin and gravy. Both of these items are high in fat and can cause serious gastrointestinal problems. Play it safe on Thanksgiving and stick to your pet's regular feeding schedule and give thanks that he or she is happy and healthy! Finally, ask your dinner guests to avoid feeding your pets scraps from the table.  I know it can be difficult to avoid those begging eyes…but trust me, your pet will be better off in the long run!

Fire, a dangerous holiday hazard!
Fire, a dangerous holiday hazard!

Christmas

I simply love Christmas! Though it is….as they say, the happiest time of the year, make sure you are aware of the pet hazards that come along with this joyous holiday.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches! If you have a tree in your home during the holidays, be sure to keep the tree stand covered so your dog and or cat cannot drink from it! I know…sounds a bit strange, but the pine sap in the water can make your pet sick if ingested! Poinsettia and mistletoe are also wonderful holiday plants that many people use as decorations. No problem…as long as you keep them out of your pet's reach! Both of these holiday plants are poisonous to dogs and cats! Oh and before I forget, you may want to avoid putting edible ornaments on your tree. If your dog spies a tasty snack hanging from your Christmas tree, he just may knock it over trying to get it.

As you know, cats love pretty, shiny things (and some dogs do too!). I know this may be difficult to do, however, it is important to keep holiday decorations such as tinsel and glass balls out of your cat's reach! Tinsel can cause serious problems if your cat (or dog) eats it. It can get tangled in your cat's stomach and intestines and cause blockages that just may require expensive surgery. Obviously, glass balls are a hazard due to the fact that if broken, they can cut your dog and or cat's tender paws..not to mention if your dog decides to chomp down on one! If you have a puppy or rambunctious dog, you may wish to consider putting a safety gate around your tree. I know, not very pretty, but hey, your pet's safety is worth it…yes? Other Christmas pet hazards include, candles, electrical cords, sharp pine needles (keep the vacuum handy!), and of course, chocolate!

One Last Thing

One last item that I want to warn you about applies to not only holidays…but daily life as well! That item is alcohol! Under no circumstances should you ever give your pet alcohol or drinks that contain alcohol. If you have a party with a lot of guests, make sure that all alcohol is out of your pet's reach and that unattended alcoholic drinks are disposed of. Alcohol poisoning is very serious and will most certainly result in an expensive trip to the veterinarian's office! Play it safe and keep your pet's in a "safe room" until the party is over. This way, you won't have to worry and your pets will be out of harm's way! Celebrating the various holidays should be a fun a joyous time…not only for you…but for your pet as well! All you have to do is follow these simple safety tips and fun will be had by all! Woof (oh, and meow, too!).

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