Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Holiday safety tips for your pet

Keep Fido and Fluffy safe this holiday season with these tips.

The holidays are fun but can be dangerous for animals. If you want your dog or cat to have a paws-itive holiday season, there are steps you can take.

Animal Health Technology chair Elaine Degrandpre shares how to keep your pet healthy and happy during the holidays.

Christmas dinner is for humans only

Feeding a dog fatty meats is never a good idea, says Degrandpre. Young dogs can tolerate it better than older dogs, but it’s best to avoid feeding from the table altogether.

“They don’t do well with fatty meats. At the very least, what could happen is diarrhea for a few days. At the worst, it could cause acute pancreatitis.” Degrandpre says in extreme cases, this inflammation of the pancreas can be fatal.

Cats can eat small amounts of meat table scraps, since their diets tend to be higher in fat and proteins. But if your cat is older, avoid them altogether. Pancreatitis cases in cats are unrelated to fatty meats, Degrandpre says.

Be mindful when decking the halls

“Tinsel is very dangerous for cats,” she says. If ingested, it may be unable to move through the cat’s intestinal tract. The cat would require surgery for it to be removed. Degrandpre says ribbons can have a similar effect. “If the cat seems to be attracted to the tree then that becomes a hazard.”

Degrandpre says poinsettias are mildly toxic for cats and dogs, too.

A houseful can be stressful

“If they’re comfortable with getting hugs and kisses, that’s fine.” But give them breaks away from the crowd. Degrandpre recommends putting dogs in a room with food and water, and taking them out for a long walk at least once every 6 hours.

Cats don’t need to be checked on as often if they have a litter box, but Degrandpre says owners will know their pet best.

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