Top Holiday Pet Safety Tips

by Jennifer Sonntag on 

The holidays are an exciting time of year full of get togethers, gifts and delicious food. While we’re focused on a season full of parties and fun times, a pet might think differently. Extra noise and visitors can leave pets feeling stressed. As we keep holiday and winter tips in mind for people, there are holiday and winter tips for our furry friends, too.

Here’s what to you need to know to keep pets safe this holiday season.

 

Food

We all know there’s an overabundance of food during the holidays. From sweet treats, to delicious meals, it’s easy to give in to the begging eyes of a four-legged companion. However, it’s important to note that just because food and drinks are people-friendly; it’s not the same for pets. Here’s a list of what foods to avoid giving your pet.

Say no to sweets. We’ve all heard that dark chocolate is dangerous for dogs, however, bread dough and cookie batter are just as dangerous. Dough can actually rise in your pet’s stomach, casing bloating and severe pain. Plus, just like their owners, pets can get salmonella poisoning from raw eggs in cookie batter.

Bones and beyond.  It’s tempting to offer your dog a special holiday “bone” right from the turkey your family just enjoyed. However, bones can get stuck in their intestines if they are brittle. On that note, make sure you dispose of bones carefully, just in case a sensitive nose goes sniffing where it shouldn’t.

Skin from a turkey is also a no-no. The skin is full of fatty juices and butter, and can be difficult for your pet to digest. High-fat foods can also lead to pancreatitis.

H2O only. While we know pets shouldn’t consume anything other than water, you may find your pet taking a sip or two from an unattended glass, filled with an adult beverage. While dogs love the smell of beer, the hops in beer are toxic to a dog’s system.

Spice is not so nice. On your pet’s digestive system that is. Sage is a popular seasoning used at Thanksgiving, and while it’s delicious for pet owners, it can cause pets to have upset stomachs or even more serious digestive trouble.

Nutmeg is another culprit that can wreak havoc on your pet. The popular spice used in pumpkin pie can cause seizures and central nervous system problems if your pet digests it. Pumpkin on its own is a safe treat for pets. Just avoid anything that is seasoned with nutmeg.

 

Decorations

From trimming the tree, to stringing the lights and all the holiday ambiance we create in between, decorations definitely pique pets’ curiosity this time of year. Here’s what to keep in mind when you’re setting up and displaying your holiday décor.

Trimming the tree. Cats have been known for seeing a Christmas tree as the ultimate climbing tower. Make sure your tree is securely anchored to avoid a serious fall. If you have a real tree, it’s important to keep pets away from the tree water, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria, not to mention toxic depending upon the tree food  you use. There are several recipes online for creating your own non-toxic tree food to keep your tree lasting throughout the holiday season.

Tinsel gets tangled. Tinsel is especially dangerous for cats. Its shiny appearance is a magnet for inquisitive cats. However, if ingested, the tinsel can wrap around the intestines or get balled up in the stomach causing severe pain and (expensive) surgical removal.

Ornaments are not toys. Holiday ornaments add an element of beauty and tradition to your Christmas tree, however, it’s important to recognize that glass ornaments could cut your pet’s mouth or digestive system if swallowed or damage their paws if stepped on.  Other ornaments to watch for are homemade salt ornaments. While fun to make, salt ornaments can be fatal to a pet because of the high amount of salt at one time.

DeLIGHTful holidays. Lights are everywhere during the holidays—indoors and out. Try to keep electrical cords out of the reach of pets. Inquiring minds could confuse lights as a new chew toy and end up with a shocking surprise.

Adding spark to the holidays. Make sure your pets steer clear, or better yet, can’t reach any candles this holiday season. While candles are an integral part of holiday celebrations and traditions, our pets aren’t as careful as we are. Make sure candles are out of reach of paws (and tails), or better yet, choose a flameless battery option that you can “light” without worry.

 

 

Holiday Plants

Holiday plants are often purchased or given to enhance a home’s décor during this festive time of year. Here are three popular holiday plants that can be dangerous  to pets.

Forgetta the poinsettia? Actually, this popular Christmas plant isn’t as dangerous for pets as people think, but it can make pets sick.  According to the Pet Poison Helpline, poinsettias have milky white sap that when ingested can cause skin irritation and mild vomiting and drooling. There is a low level of toxicity, if a poinsettia is ingested.

Holly doesn’t equal jolly. Your pet will be feeling anything but jolly, if a holly berry or leaf is ingested. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea could occur almost immediately after your furry friend takes a bite.

Skip the kiss. If you find you and your pet under the mistletoe…run. Mistletoe, while fun to have around, is very dangerous for pets. If ingested, mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems.

Your best bet? Purchase silk or plastic versions of these popular holiday plants to avoid any unwanted trips to the pet ER.

 

 

Seasonal Fun

It’s great to include your pets in family celebrations, holiday parties and holiday road trips. There are special considerations to keep in mind when your pets are involved with your holiday traditions.

Ringing in the New Year. Whether you’re ringing in the New Year with a small group of family or friends, or having a mini Times Square celebration in your house, make sure you think of your pet. Noise makers can scare pets or even cause damage to their sensitive ears, while confetti can get stuck in your cat’s intestines if ingested. An increased number of party-goers can also cause added stress to your pet. It might be a good idea to make sure your pet is in a secure and comfortable place before the clock strikes midnight.

Traveling with pets. From packing their “belongings,” to preparing for travel in a car or plane, pets have their own checklists for travel. Here’s what you need to keep in mind before you travel with your pet this holiday season.

Keeping pets warm. As the temperatures drop, it’s important to think of our four-legged friends. From dressing smaller dogs in sweaters or coats (gift idea perhaps?) to keep them warm, or booties to protect paws of all sizes, there are many “clothing” items and options available to keep our pets warm this winter. If your pet has to be outside during the day, make sure their enclosure is protected from the wind. Finally, keep your pet’s age in mind. Just as humans are more sensitive to the elements as we grow older, so are our pets.

If you’ve read through this post, you know we love our pets! They have special places in our hearts during the holidays and throughout the year. Enjoy this holiday season with your pets (and family).

Make sure everything in your home is covered this holiday season and beyond. Check out the ERIE Difference and see what we’re all about.

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Protect Your Pets from Hot Cars

by Jennifer Sonntag on July 7, 2017

To a dog, there’s nothing more exciting than going for a ride, having the window rolled down and feeling the wind in your ears. However, when the car stops and owners run a “quick” errand, what can happen to your pet is dangerous. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), hundreds of pets die in hot cars each year. Time passes faster than owners realize and car temperatures can climb to well over 115 degrees, putting your pet’s life in danger.

How fast does a car’s temperature rise? Here are some examples:

When it’s 70 degrees outside, your car’s temperature inside is 89 degrees after just 10 minutes and up to 104 degrees after a half hour. If you’re traveling with your pet on an 85 degree day, your car’s temperature is 104 degrees after 10 minutes and nearly 120 degrees after a half hour. Pets cool themselves by panting and through their skin and have a harder time cooling down in hot weather. In a hot car, heat stroke can happen in just a few minutes.

What to do if you see a pet in a hot car

Take caution when you see a pet in a hot car. If you identify a pet is in distress in a hot vehicle, the best thing to do is contact local law enforcement. Some states have laws against leaving a pet in a hot car, however, it varies. Obtain guidance from law enforcement before taking action and breaking a car window on your own. Once you call law enforcement, stay by the vehicle and keep an eye on the pet until help arrives.

How to treat a pet with heat stroke
First, it’s important to know the signs of a heat stroke:

Warning signs: panting, drooling and lethargy
Advanced stage: grey or blue gums, limp body posture with heavy breathing and the pet may be in shock

Cooling the Pet Down

  • Get your pet to an air-conditioned environment
  • Work to cool the pet down by wetting the ears and pads of the feet with cool water (do not use frigid water, use cool water).
  • Place cool, wet towels over the shoulder/neck, under the front legs and in the groin area
  • Refresh the water frequently
  • If the pet will drink, provide cool water or small ice chips


What to do if the pet is unresponsive

  • Call an emergency veterinarian immediately and tell them you’re on your way.
  • If the gums are gray/blue, they are in need of immediate treatment and should be rushed to the nearest emergency treatment center.
  • They will help cool the dog and administer subcutaneous fluids.


Additional Tips for Pet Owners in the Summer

  • Short-nosed, long-haired and young dogs are more at risk and prone to heat stroke.
  • On hot days, limit exercising your pet to early morning or evening hours.
  • Asphalt gets very hot and could burn your pet’s paws.
  • Pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears are vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer. It’s safe to use sunscreen on their noses and ear tips.

If you’re going out during the summer, it’s best to keep your pet at home, in a cool, air conditioned environment.

To protect your family, visit Scott Lynch Agency

Veterinarians & Pet Care

To you, it’s more than a snip and a clip and a quick shampoo. When it comes to your business insurance, don’t you want to know someone’s taking good care of you, too? The Erie Insurance Custom Collection Veterinarians & Pet Care Program includes the unique insurance coverages your business needs to give you peace of mind. Contact me to learn more, Scott Lynch Agency

Veterinarians & Pet Care Program

To you, it’s more than a check-up a couple of times a year. You’re trusted to care for someone’s pet – don’t you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing your business is taken care of, too? The Erie Insurance Custom Collection Veterinarians & Pet Care Program includes the unique insurance coverages your business needs. Contact me to learn more – Scott Lynch Agency or (317) 420-2867.