The holidays are a joyful time! We spend time with family and friends and create memories by tobogganing, drinking hot cocoa by the fire, playing games around the Christmas tree, and usher in the New Year with fireworks!
While taking your dog tobogganing is a great way for him to get some exercise and time with your family, precautions should be taken. Depending on the type of sled you’re using, the hill size, and outdoor temperatures, toboggans can reach speeds of 25 miles per hour (40 km/hr)! Keep your dog leashed for his safety–and the safety of everyone speeding down the hill! No doubt, your dog will have fun chasing everyone as they race along, but if your dog cuts in front of the toboggan, serious injury to both you and your dog can occur. Keeping him leashed will also prevent him from chasing other families at the hill who may not be interested in sharing their tobogganing time with your dog.
Nothing says “cozy” like sitting around the fire with cups of hot cocoa and homemade cookies! Even your pet will be happy to curl up in front of a fire on a cold winter day! Take some precautions to be sure that your pet is kept safe – whether your fire is natural gas or wood burning–it’s hot! Train your pets to stay away. Use a protective metal or glass screen to prevent your pet from getting too close for comfort or from being burned by snapping embers. Even after the fire has burnt out or been “turned off”, pets can still be burned from residual heat. Be sure to always supervise the fire and your pets.
Don’t leave that hot cocoa and plate of cookies unattended while minding the fire – they can be tempting for pets! Not only is chocolate toxic to both cats and dogs, milk can cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset. Depending on the types of cookies, they also could be toxic to your pet and will surely causes GI upset if enough are consumed. The signs of chocolate poisoning can vary depending on how much and the type of chocolate consumed (the darker the chocolate, the more toxic the effects). The most common signs are vomiting and diarrhea (also the signs after consuming milk), increased thirst, panting, and restlessness. In severe cases, muscle tremors, seizures, and heart failure can be seen.
Christmas trees and their decorations can be very tempting for cats and dogs. Sparkly lights and Christmas balls can be seen as play toys and of course the tree itself may be seen as a new climbing post for your cat! Ensure that your tree is securely fastened in a sturdy tree stand and consider tying it to the wall for added protection! Avoid the use of tinsel on your tree; all it takes is one piece to cause a lot of grief over the holidays. Tinsel can become lodge in the GI tract causing life-threatening problems – all needing emergency surgery.
Fireworks are a great way to ring in the New Year! But many pets don’t feel the same way. For many pets, the sights and sounds of fireworks can cause a strong reaction scaring them into a “fight or flight” response. If you’re attending a fireworks display in your community, leave your pet at home and if possible, set your pet up in the most soundproof area of your home; close the windows; and turn on the television, radio, or a fan to help muffle the scary sounds.
Have a safe and happy holiday season with your friends and family!