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Dr. Katy’s Tips for a Happy, Healthy Holiday Season

Happy Holidays from Freshpet! As you’re preparing your home for upcoming celebrations, don’t forget these tips from veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson to keep your furry ‘kids’ safe, healthy and happy this holiday season.

Decorations

Decorating the house is one of the most delightful traditions this time of year, but Christmas trees can present hazards to pets that are drawn to the lights, tinsel, and ornaments. Ensure your tree is secured in a sturdy stand to prevent pets from knocking it over, or consider anchoring it to the wall to prevent tipping. Hang any breakable ornaments high enough to be out of your pets’ reach. Sometimes it is best to keep the tree in a room that your pup or kitty cannot enter on their own, or at least have a baby gate to keep the furry ones away.  My theory is if it doesn’t look safe for a toddler, it’s probably not safe for your pets! Keep electrical cords and wires out of your pets reach as chewing on these can lead to harmful electric shock. Avoid long strands of ribbon hanging off of your wrapped presents, and if you have cats at home, avoid the tinsel. Cats are very attracted to this string, but swallowing it can cause serious harm to their digestive tract.

 

Holiday Shrubbery

Many popular holiday plants are actually poisonous to pets if ingested. Mistletoe, poinsettias and holly can cause our pets to have upset stomachs, while lilies can potentially damage your cat’s kidneys. Opt to avoid these plants if you have animals in the house, and instead choose a pet-safe bouquet, such as  faux flowers and holiday foliage, or a fragrant and beautiful arrangement of oranges with cloves.

 

Gift Giving

Many families give their pets gifts around the holidays, which is a tradition I am a big fan of! There is nothing cuter than helping your dogs or cats open up their presents with the whole family around. When choosing toys, be sure they are large enough for your pet to play with without swallowing. Know your pets chewing tendancies when choosing toys- if you’ve got an aggressive chewer, avoid toys that may break into smaller pieces that can become choking hazards. If your pet is not one that destroys their playthings, then a stuffed squeaker toy may become a favorite.  And tasty treats are always a hit this time of year. Just remember, if you pick up Freshpet treats, be sure to keep them in the fridge until it is time to open gifts. Or, consider making a healthy homemade treat like Freshpet’s Ready to Bake Cookies!

 

Table Scraps

Though it can be tempting to feed your pets leftovers from a great holiday meal, try to avoid it. Many of the foods we eat during the holidays are definitely not intended for our cats and dogs, especially sweets and fatty or spicy foods (these can cause anything from mild GI upset all the way to a life-threatening case of pancreatitis). Instead, have a few Dog Joy treats handy to involve your pup in the celebration. Dog Joy Turkey Bacon treats are a tasty and safe alternative to human leftovers, and in proper portions, won’t cause your pet to have to ‘loosen up their waistband’ like we may have to.

 

Holiday Parties

Just like children, pets can become overly excited when there is a lot of commotion in the home. So, when you’re having a holiday party, be sure there is a quiet place that your pet can retreat to, like an interior bathroom with the vent fan on (for white noise), or a bedroom that’s insulated from the celebration. Stock the spot with fresh water, a few toys, and comfy bedding to snuggle up in.  And just in case the worst happens and your pet manages to slip out the front door, make sure you have your pet’s microchip or collar information up to date so that you can be easily reached when your pet is found.

 

I hope that you and your pets have a wonderful, and safe, holiday season!