Have a Safe and Barky Holiday Season!
By LG Nixon
Safety tips for your pet
Have you ever wondered what a pet is thinking when we dress them up like humans?
It’s easy to see what our dog thinks when she wears her harness for travel and walks. She reluctantly steps into it, and as soon as it’s fastened, she does a beautiful imitation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Her back is arched, her gait bunches, and with her ears are down, she gives me a look that says, “how could you do this to me?” Once, I put her in a Thundershirt. She didn’t move a muscle for a full five minutes. Nope, no clothes for Cali.
Each year, millions of Americans buy holiday costumes for their pets. After all, everyone loves to dress up, right? Holidays should be fun, but they can be dangerous too. Animal emergency visits spike during the holiday season.
Here are a few suggestions to help you and your pet:
- Don’t force your pet to wear costumes or clothes. If it causes unnecessary stress, even panic, or makes them fearful, ditch the costume.
- Humans in costumes can be frightening to pets too, so it’s best not to expose them to unfamiliar situations.
- Be selective. Velcro closures are best. Avoid choking hazards like buttons or snaps; elastic and drawstrings can restrict motion or breathing if too tight. A pet in costume should never be left unattended.
- Be sure your pet’s ID tag has your current contact information. We recommend microchipping your pet in case of an emergency or if the pet becomes lost.
- A fearful pet deserves a safe environment like a quiet room with a closed door or keeping the pet leashed to prevent sudden panic or to prevent bolting when answering the door to trick-or-treaters or party goers. Some pets become anxious when their routine is disrupted during the holidays.
- No candy allowed. It can spike insulin levels or may contain xylitol which is deadly for pets even in small amounts. Pets can not eat chocolate; it’s toxic to them. Candy wrappers can cause obstructions.
- Holiday treats are not suitable for pets either and may contain high sugar, heavy creams, high salt, raisins, saturated fats, or artificial sweeteners. Avoid foods or treats containing garlic, onion, avocado, or macadamia nuts, to name a few. Please check the AKC website for a complete listing of foods to avoid.
- If your pet is uncomfortable or is body posturing like pacing or restlessness, please seek medical attention.
The holidays are upon us. Let’s plan for a safe and fun holiday season for every family member. Thanks for reading!
Vetstreet.org – Halloween safety tips