Giving a pet as a Christmas gift is an innovative and wonderful idea, but Petland advises you plan ahead if you intend to give someone a pet over the holidays. A pet shouldn't be a surprise gift! Christmas Day is not the best time to introduce a new pet into the family. Because young pets are like babies and need time and extra attention to adjust to the family routine, Petland recommends introducing a new pet into the household a little before or after Christmas. Pets brought into the home before the holidays have time to adjust to housebreaking, exercising and feeding routines.
Certain plants such as Mistletoe berries and Poinsettias can be dangerous and even toxic to pets, causing rashes or severe illness. Be sure to keep these plants well out of the reach of animals. Be careful with holiday floral arrangements. Lilies are commonly used this time of year and all varieties can cause kidney failure in cats. Safe alternatives can include artificial flowers made from silk or plastic.
Never feed pets leftovers from the dinner table or decadent treats. Your pet’s digestive system is not receptive to rich “people” foods, and may give your dog or cat severe indigestion and diarrhea. Items such as chicken bones can easily shatter and choke cats and dogs. Keep your pets on a normal diet. This is particularly true for older animals that have more delicate systems and nutritional requirements. Foods and drinks such as alcoholic beverages, seeds and pits from many fruits, chocolate, macadamia nuts, walnuts, coffee, tea, salt, onions, and other foods can be harmful and even cause death.
Keep wires and other decorations out of the reach of your pets. Decorations like tinsel, glass ornaments, aluminum foil and cellophane candy wrappers, and garlands can easily attract pets, but are dangerous choking hazards. If ingested, they can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal blockage. Electric decorations such as stringed lights can give your pets a shock should they chew on the wires. It is advised to keep your pet crated if you are not able to supervise them.
Keep pets away from Christmas tree water. The water may contain fertilizers that, if ingested, can cause a stomach upset. Stagnant water can also act as a breeding ground for bacteria and give a pet nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The usual commotion of the holidays can be stressful on animals and humans. Put your pets in a quiet room/area of the house when guests are visiting. Make sure your pets are wearing proper identification. If during the commotion they become confused and escape the safety of your home, proper identification will ensure that if your pet is found, he/she will be returned to you.
When traveling with your pets, make sure they are properly secured in the vehicle. Don’t fly your pets in the cargo area on airplanes unless absolutely necessary. Make sure you research veterinary services available at your destination.
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