With the winter season upon us, we're purchasing gifts left and right while cooking up feasts and bundling up to stay warm. But just what are the household animals up to this holiday season?
We've come up with a list of ways to include--or not include--your pet in the festivities. Follow these tips and everyone will stay safe and happy around the yuletide season.
Stocking Stuffers Ideas for Pets
Over half of pet guardians give their beloved companions holiday presents. We figured most of our clients would be on this list of pet gift-givers, so we came up with some ideas for stocking stuffers that are fun, healthy, and safe:
- Catnip bubbles
- Joint treats
- Oat grass
- Dehydrated veggies
Cold Weather Woes
Arthritic flare-ups tend to worsen in the colder months, so joint health is especially important to address during this time of year. As listed in our arthritis newsletter, supplements with fish oils, magnesium, glucosamine and chondroitin can lubricate joints, thereby decreasing pain and inflammation.
Booties offer warmth and protection in the winter to prevent frostbite or cuts and scrapes on ice. While it doesn't often drop below freezing in the Seattle area, barefooted animals will still feel more of a chill than snow-booted humans. Unlike people, however, dogs and cats are capable of shunting their blood to protect vital mid-body organs in extreme weather conditions.
If your pet is wary to plunge into the cool air, try bundling him or her with extra layers. Place the dog bed in front of the fireplace or add a heating pad to the cat's favorite spot. Offer slightly warmed treats to increase food aroma and inner body warmth.
Pet Holiday Safety
Just like Fourth of July, Halloween and Thanksgiving, winter celebrations can pose a safety hazard to curious canines and kitties. Be sure to keep these ideas in mind during the holidays:
- Keep an eye on the Christmas ham! Similar to turkey, pets can "overdose" on ham, resulting in acute pancreatitis.
- String the lights out of reach. Some pets--cats, rabbits, ferrets, and guinea pigs especially--like to chew on stringy things, and nobody wants an unexpected electric shock before the New Year. Biting into a light strand can even cause mouth burns and seizures.
- Tinsel and ribbon are a leading cause for cat ER trips around the holidays!
- Place cookies and candy out of reach. Gum (xylitol) and chocolate in particular should be avoided.
- Beware of lit candles and wandering pets.
- No holly and ivy, and no lilies for cats. They can cause GI, heart, or kidney problems if ingested. Poinsettias are actually relatively safe.
- Make sure ornaments are non-breakable and non-ingestible.
We wish all of our clients and patients a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Wonderful Festivus!