Holiday Pet Safety Tips for a Cold Michigan Winter

The cold is just one element of danger during the holiday season, along with decorations and holiday foods. With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, pets can be left to their own devices a little more often than usual. Take some extra precautions to keep them from getting into serious trouble by following our animal hospital's holiday pet safety tips!

Cold Weather Safety

Canton has been known to get its share of bitingly cold winter weather! Yet even with dropping temperatures, it’s important to keep up your pet’s exercise regime as much as possible so they remain healthy and active. Long-haired, thick-coated breeds like Huskies and Malamutes handle colder weather with ease, so their walks can continue with little change (shorter walks are more for you than them!).

However, short-haired breeds may need some extra precautions. For short-haired breeds, keep them warm with a sweater or jacket that fits them appropriately. You may also consider getting them booties to keep their feet warm, dry, and free of any salt or other deicers which can cause severe irritation.

Regardless of breed, it’s a good idea to wipe down your pet’s paws, legs, and belly after each walk, as their fur may accumulate salt and deicing chemicals, as well as plenty of snow and even icicles!

Happy dog in snow: Holiday Pet Safety in Canton

Food Safety

Holiday dinners are by the far the best of the year. With plenty of savory dishes, it’s no wonder that pets show interest in the feast as well! Yet many of the foods we enjoy are a danger to pets. Here’s what to keep them away from:

  • Fatty meats like ham, sausage, turkey skin, and gristle. The high-fat content can cause a serious condition like pancreatitis, even in small amounts. Don’t share the fat!
  • Baked goods. Not only are they often very rich foods that include fats and dairy, they also contain high amounts of sugar. Some may even have the artificial sweetener xylitol in them, which is highly toxic to pets.
  • Onions, garlic, shallots, and leeks. These pungent veggies are actually very toxic to pets! Even if they are a small ingredient in a larger dish, it’s better not to share!
  • Other foods to avoid include chocolate, nuts, candies, grapes and raisins, which can all severely upset your pet’s digestive tract and could cause more serious conditions, too.
Cat reaching for a Christmas Ornament: Holiday Pet Safety in Canton

Decorations Safety

Decorations are, in truth, entirely harmless until curious pets with their nosy noses come to disturb the peace! Decorations turn your house into a new environment and it’s only natural that pets will want to explore and check things out. However, their over-enthusiasm can cause them harm, so keep them safe with these tips:

  • Secure the Christmas tree. To cats, it’s a climber’s paradise, and to dogs, it’s an interesting new water bowl (for real trees, at least). Anchor your tree down to the floor or secure it to the ceiling with fishing line to keep investigative pets from knocking it over.
  • Steer clear of Tinsel Town. This bright and glittering decoration is the cat’s meow. Your feline friend will be drawn to it’s sparkly and dangly nature, and a playful nibble could turn into an unintentional swallow. Ingested tinsel can cause serious gastrointestinal blockage, so keep it well out of reach or find another way to brighten your tree.
  • Hang holly and mistletoe way up high. These festive plants are actually toxic to pets. They can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting and diarrhea, and even cardiovascular problems if ingested.
  • Other décor you should keep well out of reach includes fragile ornaments, candles, electric lights and cords, and potpourris!

Have any questions about holiday pet safety? Call us today or ask at your next appointment! We’ll be happy to offer further advice.