ROANOKE CO., Va.—It's the most wonderful time of the year, but it can be a dangerous time for our pets.
Veterinarians see a spike in certain types of cases during the holiday season. Dr. Carrie Turnbull of PetVet in Roanoke County was a guest on News 7 Mornin'. She offered 12 Tips to keep your pet safe during the holidays.
1. "Baby it's cold outside" so keep your pet indoors or make sure it has a place to get warm. On cold days only let your pet out for brief periods of time, especially the shorthaired breeds. If Rover is an outside dog, make sure he has adequate shelter, such as a heated dog house.
2. Please don't pass the salt (or other de-icing chemical). After outside walks clean Rover's paws with soap and water to remove chemicals. You could also try placing booties on their feet prior to the walk, but the best advice is use animal-safe deicers instead of.
3. Avoid letting your animal get a hold of any ornamental hors d'oeuvres. If you can, keep the tree in a room that can be closed off, or keep Rover away from the tree by locking him in another room when you're not around. If your cat likes to play with ribbon or string, keep it out of reach or don't place any on your tree this year. Intestinal blockages can be deadly.
4. Don't let Rover "get lit" with Christmas tree lights. Chewing on christmas lights can cause electrocution and electrical burns (think National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation). If Precious likes chewing on lights/string then keep her out of the room where you have the tree or other lights hung.
5. Rover's New Year's resolution is a diet too, so keep high-fat foods away from him and Precious. Avoid giving your pets table scraps. High fat foods can cause inflammation of the pancreas and lead to lots of vomiting and diarrhea.
6. No bones to pick with Rover. Real bones with the marrow in them should be off-limits to Rover. They can cause intestinal blockages, can get stuck in the esophagus, break teeth and cause vomiting and diarrhea. Instead, by Rover a rawhide to enjoy during the holidays.
7. Everyone's a choco-holic, except for Rover. Keep chocolate where pets can't reach it, and make sure all visitors know that chocolate is toxic to dogs so that they aren't giving "special" treats to your dogs.
8. Keep any antifreeze cocktails away from Rover and Precious. Keep it in a secure location. If you spill some while placing it into your car, then clean the area thoroughly. Only a very small amount can kill your pet.
9. Watch out for "The Holly and the Ivy" and mistle toe, poinsettias, lilies and Christmas tree water as well! If you have these plants in your home, keep them out of reach from your pets. Eating these toxic plants can cause anything from vomiting and diarrhea with poinsettias to kidney failure and death with lilies. Christmas tree water is mainly a problem if your family puts chemicals in the water to help it stay fresh.
10. The kids aren't the only anxious ones at Christmas. Rover and Precious may be a bit more anxious this time of year, especially with all of the changes in the household, new people coming and going, parties, schedule changes, etc. If your pet seems stressed out, consider seeing your veterinarian for treatment.
11. Rover may want to escape the in-laws too (or any other visitors). If you're having a party, let Rover stay in his own room. That way you'll know Rover will be safe. Rover and Precious should have on collars with their names, and don't forget to microchip them. If they escape it will be easier to identify them once they're found.
12. The greatest gift of all may not be a pet. Although this seems like a good idea, pets are a big responsibility and can be expensive. Owning a pet is a decision best made by the prospective owner. The person may not be ready for this responsibility, either financially