Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Yule, there is no doubt that your cat or dog will be a part of the festivities. While it may be fun to see your kitten play with leftover ribbon from wrapping up presents or to see your dog lie peacefully under the tree, there are potential hazards lurking around this holiday season that you should be on the lookout for so as to keep your pet happy and healthy.
USA Today recently ran an article in which they quoted a popular pet website's poll of what gifts pet parents were planning on giving their pets this year. Roughly half of all American pet owners are planning on purchasing gifts for their pet's this holiday season. Their budget? At least $46, up from $41 last year. Roughly 68% of American cats and dogs can expect to receive a brand new toy, while 45% of pets will receive a favorite food treat. Approximately 8% of pets can look forward to receiving a comfy new bed, 6% will receive fun new clothing, 3% will get a new leash, harness or collar, and a further 3% of pets will be gifted with new grooming products.
No matter what gift you are planning on giving your pets this year, you should seriously consider how you are going to present your gift to your pet. A pretty alternative is to use Pet Party Printz line of pet-friendly wrapping paper (PetPartyPrints.com). This wrapping paper is created with no harmful chemicals so it is safe to wrap up your pet's present and watch them go to town trying to open it.
However, do make sure that you put away any ribbon or string that you use to wrap presents for your two legged family members. Cats are well known for their love of playing with strings and ribbons, but accidently ingesting them could lead to a blockage either in your cat's throat or in their stomach. This blockage would require immediate medical attention.
No holiday celebration would be without festive lights. However, such holiday lights can be quite attractive to both cats and dogs. Not only can they be mesmerized by the flashing or glowing lights, but the cords that link the lights together may offer a chewing extravaganza for your pets. Before setting up your holiday lights be sure that there are no loose parts that could be easily swallowed. Also make sure that all of the electrical cording is intact and position them so that they are out of your pet's reach. Electrical shock can occur if your pet chews on the cord while it is plugged into an electrical outlet. If your pet receives an electrical shock you should seek medical attention quickly as it can cause severe skin burns, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, an abnormal heart rhythm, and possibly even death.
Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink...
Pets are very curious creatures by nature and are always investigating everything that is new in their surroundings. This is true even about water sources. Although your pet already has their own water bowl with plenty of fresh water, they will be attracted to other sources of water around your house during the holiday season. One such source can be the water in which a Christmas or Yule tree sits. Before adding in any chemicals to the tree's water to help it stay fresher longer, read the label very carefully to be sure that it is pet-friendly.
To help create a more festive atmosphere you may opt to place a few potpourri pots around your home. However, keep a lid on the pot so that your pet does not attempt to lick at the liquid.
No holiday would be complete without delicious holiday foods such as cookies, pies, roasts and hams. But do remember that these are people foods and not pet foods so you should limit the amount that your pet receives. Keep an eye on your pet at all times while you are in the kitchen cooking. Sneaky pets can steal food when you are not watching. Avoid giving your pets bits of food during cooking. Even if it is a small morsel, depending on what it is it can still cause harm.
Holiday foods are usually quite rich and can cause a myriad of health concerns for pets when consumed. Dangerous holiday foods include fatty foods, onions, fatty meats, cooked bones, grapes, raisins, alcoholic beverages, coffee and chocolate.
Chocolate is one of the most commonly gifted items during the holidays; most people also use chocolate for decorating purposes too by hanging small chocolates from the tree or placing a few candy bowls filled with chocolates around the home for their guests. However, veterinarians see more cases of chocolate poisoning in pets around the holiday time than at any other time of year. Chocolate and cocoas contain a chemical called Theobromine which is extremely toxic to pets. Small amounts can lead to diarrhea and vomiting, but larger amounts can also lead to seizures and heart arrhythmias, heart rate disorders in which a pet's heart can beat too fast or too slow. Should your pet exhibit any signs of distress you should make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out any heart problems or disease.
Heart disease can be a result of infection and inflammation caused by eating too much chocolate and other fatty holiday people foods. If your vet does diagnose your pet with a heart disorder, you will most likely need to administer medication to your pet on a daily basis to help maintain a steady heart beat.
There are, however, alternative treatments available to effectively treat heart disease in cats and dogs, such as a more controlled diet and herbal supplements. Carefully examine any herbal supplements that you are considering purchasing for your pet's heart issues to make sure that they contain these ingredients:
Hawthorne Berries - will help control your pet's heart rate, blood pressure, and coronary flow.
Lady's Slipper - manages heart palpitations.
Hops - supports proper heart action as well as capillary circulation.