7 Festive Tips To Ensure A Pet-Friendly Holiday Season

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One of my favorite holiday movies is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and one of my favorite scenes from this classic is the family’s reaction when Cousin Eddie’s Rottweiler named Snots ,raids the garbage and then starts hacking up something unsavory under the table during dinner.

I’m guessing many of us can relate to this sort of ill-timed upchuck and whether it’s caused by a doggie dumpster dive or just too many treats over too short a time, our pets pay a price for overindulging – sometimes a heavy price.

Here are some tips to keep your little guys healthy and happy for the duration of the holidays:

  1. Set the ground rules when guests arrive. No feeding scraps to the pets no matter how much they offer to “give a paw”. The over-rich foods we tend to enjoy on special occasions can result in pancreatitis or gastro-intestinal problems for our little guys. Unfinished portions should be brought to the kitchen pronto, not left on a side or coffee table.

Related: Avoiding Holiday Hangover

  1. Although smokers tend to congregate in an outdoor space, it’s important their cigarette or cigar butts be kept safely out of reach of our pooches. New scents can prove deliciously intriguing to a dog that has been let out of the house to do his business and if ingested, nicotine can cause serious gastrointestinal symptoms, cardiac arrest or death.
  1. Turkey, chicken or ham bones are a great big no-no for dogs. They splinter and can pierce or obstruct the gastrointestinal tract with lethal results. Any trash that might contain dinner remnants must be secured and placed out of reach of our pets – both dogs and cats.

Related: How A Furry Thief Gobbled Our Thanksgiving Turkey And Started A New Tradition

  1. Even small amounts of chocolate may lead to severe digestive upset, neurological reactions including hyperactivity, elevated heart rate and even seizures because animals cannot metabolize the theobromine in chocolate.
  1. If you think that sneaking Rover a little stuffing to make him feel included in the celebrations is a safe compromise, think again. Feeding him foods with seasonings such onions can be toxic even in small amounts and can potentially lead to low red blood cell counts and anemia.
  1. Most of us might think that the smell of alcohol would be off-putting to our pooches, but not true. Fruity cocktails, wines and beers can smell delish to your boy so you need to ensure that unattended bevvies are placed where pets cannot access them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
  1. Planning a nice floral centerpiece? Poisonous flowers include not only mistletoe and holly berries but poinsettias and more importantly lilies – which can result in kidney failure in cats.

If the above sounds too daunting to enforce, it may make sense to let Rover say hello to arriving guests, then relegate him to a safe, separate space where he can snuggle up with his toys and blankets and spend the evening in a less stressful environment.

If you are determined to include your pet in the gala celebrations, remember that slips and spills will likely result in Rover doing a quick clean up at lightning speed. Ensure contact information for your veterinarian and the nearest emergency veterinary clinic is readily available!

Mary SimpsonMary Simpson is an animal-loving writer and communications professional.  A soft touch for anything stray, she shares her century home with an eclectic collection of rescues that include orange tabby Chico, tuxedo Simon, and jet black Owen.  She enjoys running, politics, exploring local wine regions and is an avid supporter of the “shop local” movement.