As Thanksgiving approaches to kick off the holiday season, these next several weeks will be filled with traveling, eating and spending time with loved ones. However, the feelings of excitement and happiness that we get during this time aren’t necessarily reciprocated by our pets. Animals don’t have any concept of events and timelines, which can cause these upcoming months to be confusing and tumultuous for them. Here’s some things to keep in mind as kitchens are fired up and travel plans are finalized.
Almost everyone’s guilty of redirecting food scraps from the garbage can into their dog’s bowl. While it may seem harmless enough, there are actually many types of food that are toxic to pets. If you’re throwing a couple extra pieces of meat into your pet’s food bowl, make sure you have thoroughly inspected the leftovers to ensure it’s bone-free. If an animal accidentally swallows a bone fragment, immediately call your veterinarian. If they’re unavailable, it’s recommended to give the animal something bulky to eat, such as a piece of bread, to hopefully surround the bone. Additionally, keep animals away from high-fat foods, such as turkey; seasonings, such as onions, garlic, nutmeg and sage; nuts, such as macadamias and walnuts; dough of any kind; and, as always, chocolate.
While it’s best to include your pet in travel plans, it’s not always possible when family members and friends have allergies or your choice of lodging isn’t pet-friendly. If your pet’s particularly familiar or comfortable with one of your close friends, ask them if they’ll be around and willing to pet sit. If not, there are plenty of reputable day cares and pet sitters who can step in during your absence. No matter what option you decide to explore, write down your pet’s daily feeding and exercise schedule and any emergency contact information you want the sitter to have.
If you are able to bring your pet with you, make sure that it’s up to date on its shots, especially if you’re flying. Many airlines ask for proof of vaccinations before allowing an animal on the aircraft. If you’re driving, make sure you have a pet carrier that can be safely secured to the seat. Be prepared to make more stops than normal to accommodate for bathroom breaks and feeding, and, of course, double check that your pet has its ID tag.
If you’re choosing to stay home, try to keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible and be aware of its presence. If you’re busier than usual with preparations or you’re caught up in the large amounts of people mingling around you, make sure your pet isn’t being neglected or mistreated. Simply being in the same house or room doesn’t ensure that a pet’s getting the level of attention that it needs.
Remember, as fun and wonderful as this time of year is for you, it can oftentimes be a period of stress and anxiety for your pets. Keep these tips in mind to help create a happy holiday for all.