Halloween…. Thanksgiving…. Christmas, New Year’s Eve….. holidays are out of the ordinary for pets but problems are easy to avoid with a little bit of forethought.
It goes without saying that dogs and cats shouldn’t be able to get access to Halloween candy. If you are passing it out be sure you’ve got it safely up and out of reach while waiting for the next trick-or-treaters.
Decorations can seem like novel playthings to cats and dogs, so keep an eye out for anything that may attract the wrong kind of attention from animals. Fake cobweb material in particular could be problematic if your pet grabs it and gets it in their teeth or even swallows it.
Costumed visitors can be scary for pets. Some dogs may bark and growl from the anxiety, while others may hide. The best thing you can do for your pets is to let them hang out in a quiet part of the house away from the front door. Putting some calming music on can be really helpful. Give them a calming supplement like Sleepytime Tonic or Dr. Becker’s Calming Solutions treats and let them relax.
It’s sadly common for pets to end up at the vet for pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) because their family thought it was a good idea to share the scraps from their Thanksgiving turkey dinner. The amount of cooked fat in poultry skin, gravy, sweet potato casserole, and pan drippings can send their body into a tailspin that some dogs never fully recover from. If you want to share the meal give them plain meat and a little bit of plain sweet potato on top of their usual food. If your dog is already a raw food eater you can offer the raw neck and giblets before you start the cooking.
The crowds that can fill a happy holiday house can be overwhelming for dogs and cats. Be sure they have a quiet place to retreat to, and ensure that kids understand that they need to ask permission before petting and not intrude on the chosen quiet space. Calming aids like those mentioned above can be helpful. It can also be a good time to have your foraging toys ready to go so when you sit down to dinner your dog can sit down to a stuffed Kong in another room.
Christmas has many of the same potential trouble spots as Halloween and Thanksgiving. If you’re expecting a crowd for Christmas use the earlier holidays to try out different calming aids and contingency plans so that when the big day comes around you’re well prepared.
Presents under the tree can prove irresistible to pets. It’s usually a good idea to supervise them when they’re around those temptations, and avoid risky decorations like tinsel and glass ornamentsDecorated trees can really confuse them sometimes because it’s bringing the outdoors in. It can seem perfectly normal to a cat to climb a tree and for a dog to urinate on it – but think of it from their point of view and resist punishing them – preventing an accident is a much more thoughtful way to manage the scene.
New Year’s Eve
Fireworks are the biggest risk to pet’s on New Year’s Eve. If you know that your dog or cat is sensitive to noises like that you can help them the most by planning ahead. Start using flower essence formulas like Pet Essences Fear & Anxiety two weeks before the big day. Once the evening starts use that same formula frequently, or use Five Flower Formula from Healing Herbs several times an hour. In addition some pets may need more direct calming aids like Sleepytime Tonic, Happy Traveler, Dr. Becker’s Calming Solutions Treats, and others available at Dexter’s Deli. Having the TV on or using music designed to have a calming influence on pets can provide an additional buffer to the loud noises at midnight. Many animals also benefit from the safe feeling of a Thundershirt. If you think your dog might panic it’s best to stay home – many pets go missing annually because they try to escape the mysterious sounds from the sky and go through windows and over fences. No party is worth losing your pet.