Kristi Flynn, D.V.M., a veterinarian with the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, knows firsthand that the holidays can be a dangerous time for pets.
She’s seen pets come into clinic for everything from stomach problems to fractures and strains during the winter months. Who knew the holidays could be so hazardous for pets?
If you’re looking for ways to keep your pet out of harm’s way this holiday season, here are a few of Flynn’s top tips:
Keep an eye on stray food and dangerous holiday decorations
Flynn: Many homes have more food items than usual sitting around this time of year. If your pet consumes something like bread dough that was left out to rise, not only can it cause abdominal pressure and pain as the dough continues to rise, but it can result in alcohol intoxication from the fermentation process as well.
Keep a close eye on your pet and keep edible items out of reach. If your pet is eating something he shouldn’t or if she is vomiting, call your veterinarian.
Other trouble food items include human foods that are high in fat, or foods that are toxic to pets such as chocolate, grapes or raisins. Keep holiday decorations like tinsel away from your pet, too.
Keep your pet comfortable around visitors and guests
As relatives and friends come and go, be sure to keep your pets in a safe area, where they won’t be able to run out the door or bite guests they are not comfortable around. Not all people recognize the warning signs that your pet displays and as a result bites can occur.
Watch for cold weather hazards
Each year, the U of M’s Veterinary Medical Center sees a few cases where dogs have fallen through the ice. If your holiday plans include scenic walks by waterways, be sure to keep your dog safely leashed where he or she can’t fall through the ice.
Use caution on other icy surfaces as well, where slipping may lead to strains and sprains for both you and your pet.
Don’t forget that unleashed pets are also at risk of frostbite as a result of exposure during cold weather.
The most important thing to remember about pet safety this holiday season really applies to us as well: Slow down.
If we take the time to relax and enjoy each other’s company we are less likely to overlook potentially dangerous situations.
In the case that an emergency does arise, the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center is open to people and their pets 24/7, all holiday-long.