With the holidays comes travel—visiting family and friends this time of year is part of the fun of the season. But, because no holiday morning is complete without your pet poking his head into gift bags to see what presents await, we’ve put together our top five tips for keeping your pets safe this season.
#1: Too hot for your pet to trot
You may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but the closest you’ll probably get is a white sandy beach. Hot weather spells trouble for pets in more ways than one:
- Hot sand and pavement can burn your pet’s paw pads, especially in the early weeks of summer. If your pet has spent the winter mostly indoors, he will need time to toughen up his paw pads before he can handle hot sidewalks and sand.
- Never leave your pet in your car on a hot day. The car’s interior temperature will skyrocket, despite leaving the windows cracked, and can cause heat stroke and death in pets.
#2: Holiday feasts can be no fun for pets
Warmer weather means outdoor dining. Whether you are picnicking on the beach or barbequing with friends, we know you’d never leave your pooch out of the feasting festivities. But, be aware of temptations he can’t resist. Fatty meats and marinated veggies can lead to gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea, which are sure to put a damper on the festivities. Other warm weather staples, like corn on the cob and stone fruits, can become lodged in your pet’s gastrointestinal tract, causing a life-threatening intestinal blockage.
You’ll also want to keep traditional fare, such as fruitcakes and Christmas puddings, safely out of paws’ reach, especially if they contain raisins or currants. These tiny fruits pack a dangerous punch—ingesting only a small amount can cause kidney damage in dogs. Desserts sweetened with the sugar substitute xylitol are also dangerous, and may cause hypoglycemia and liver damage in dogs.
#3: Send an RSVP for your pet
If you’re traveling with pets to a friend or family member’s house, always ask your host if pets are welcome. Your host may be allergic to pets, or have pets of her own who don’t fancy visitors. Finding out that your pet is not welcome when you show up is a sticky situation. If your pet needs to stay home, it’s best to know ahead of time so you can arrange for holiday boarding—facilities can fill up quickly—or book a pet sitter.
#4: Know what to pack for pets
When you are packing your bags for the holidays, don’t forget to pack for your pet. Of course, you’ll need to bring his food, but don’t forget his medications, including parasite preventives. Also, take his bed and one or two favorite toys to make him feel comfortable away from home.
If you’re traveling out of town with your pet, don’t forget a copy of his medical records so you’ll have current records for the local veterinarian on the off chance a problem should arise. If you need a copy of your pet’s records before you head out, we’d be happy to help—give us a call.
#5: Ensure your pet is a good guest
Ensure your pet is polite at your host’s house. Take a crate, exercise pen, or baby gate to help keep him out of trouble, or keep him leashed at your side, if necessary. Most importantly, always supervise your pet around children—a frightened pet can lash out quickly with a bite or scratch.
The holidays are a special time meant for good tidings and cheer, and we hope you and all your family members enjoy the season safely. If you have questions about holiday or hot weather safety for your pet, don’t hesitate to call us.