As families and friends gather together to celebrate the holidays, there can be potential risks to our pets. Guests that come over usually bring at least a few things with them in their pockets or purses, even if it’s just their cell phone, keys, and a pack of gum.  But even these few items can be dangerous to the very curious cat or dog.  Items that can be brought into your home that could pose as potential threats to your pets are items like:

  • Cellphones and Key fobs: they contain batteries that can be dangerous if eaten or chewed on
  • Cigarettes or cigars: have may toxins in them that can be harmful if eaten
  • Gum: Nicorette gum or gum that contains xylitol which is toxic to both dogs and cats
  • Medications: many human medications can be harmful to both dogs and cats as well.
  • Hand sanitizer: high alcohol content
  • Dental floss: can cause linear foreign bodies if ingested by your pets
  • Drugs: Even alcohol and marijuana are toxic to both cats and dogs if ingested
  • Foods: Bringing chocolates, fruitcake, or other foods for the holiday dinner
  • Toys: that may contain batteries or small buttons that can be chewed on
  • Presents: the wrapping paper, bows and ribbons
  • Plants: lilies, amaryllis, poinsettias, holly and mistletoe

Pet owners must be aware of these dangers and be vigilant to the dangers.  There are several steps we can take to make sure everyone is safe this holiday season.

  • Hang all coats, purses, and bags up on sturdy coat racks or wall hooks or safely inside of a closet or shut bedroom.
  • Ask overnight guests to keep the doors to their bedrooms and bathrooms shut so curious pets do not go in and investigate though their toiletries, medications and laundry.
  • Be cautious of what types of presents are being left under the tree.  Like anything with chocolate, fruitcake, toys with batteries, and the ribbons and bows.
  • Be careful with the types of plants you decide to decorate with. Avoid lilies, amaryllis, poinsettias, holly and mistletoe if possible.
  • Make sure your guests close all exterior doors and fence gates when going in and out of your house so as your pets do not escape and get hurt or run away.
  • Dispose of all trash, compost, and recycling safely and securely to prevent your pets from gaining access.
  • Keep pets out of the kitchen when preparing and cleaning up from your holiday dinner to make sure they don’t sneak a bite when you’re not looking.
  • Also ask your guest not to feed your pets any of their holiday foods, candies, or drinks.

Our pets can also become stressed when they are forced to interact with new people and new things in their environment.  Stress itself can cause a multitude of issues for your pets, symptoms can include:

  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Inappetence
  • Urinary Tract Obstruction – If you have a male cat this is a condition you MUST be aware of normally but this condition is more likely to happen in times of stress.
  • Bladder inflammation or pain (cystitis) – particularly commonly associated with stress in cats
  • Anxiety and nervousness around people – this can cause dogs and cats to not only act strange, but also pace, pant, chew on things they wouldn’t normally, and even fear bite.

There are a few things we can do to keep our pets and our guests safe during these stressful times for our pets:

  • Create a “safe room” for your pets to have access to before, during, and after the holiday festivities.  Provide the necessary items like food, water, beds, litter box, crates, and interactive toys to keep them busy and safe.
  • Make sure your cat’s litter box is scooped out frequently, and is not in a high trafficked area as to disturb the cat as they are doing their business.
  • Try to keep your pets’ daily routine as normal as possible around the holiday season.  For example: this is not the time to change your pets’ diet.
  • Be particularly careful with small children around your dogs and cats during the holiday festivities.  Be very careful if your pet normally does not interact with children.

Urgent Pet Care of Omaha wants you and your family to enjoy the holidays without a visit to the pet ER.

Visit Urgent Pet Care Omaha

If your dog or cat is having any of these issues or has gotten into anything they shouldn’t, the doctors at Urgent Pet Care in Omaha would recommend bringing them in to get an exam to determine if your pet is having an issue.  At Urgent Pet Care in Omaha, our veterinarians are here for you and your pet, every night, weekend, and holiday for any veterinary emergency.  No appointment is needed during an emergency, but we do appreciate a phone call to let us know you’re coming.

To reach our Omaha office, please call 402-991-9444. For the Papillion office, please call 402-597-2911.