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Holiday Stresses Aren’t Just for Humans

holiday stressors for pets

While pet families prepare for holiday festivities, veterinarians and emergency vet clinics prepare for the holiday rush. Holidays can be stressful for humans, and also for your pet. Bright lights, extra cookies and family gatherings are abundant. For your pet, these are not always good things either.

Holiday Guests

Stress can affect your pet’s digestive system. Vomiting and diarrhea are a common ailment treated by veterinarians during the holidays. Pets with shyer personalities or noise sensitivities are particularly prone. If your hosting a party or other large get together, give your pet a quiet room to themselves along with their favorite toy or blanket.

The Holiday Buffet

Extra-rich holiday meals and snacks are tradition. Fatty foods, such as turkey skin and gravy, can do more than just upset your pet’s stomach. Vomiting and diarrhea are also signs of pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis requires veterinary treatment and in severe cases can be deadly. Chocolate and the artificial sweetener xylitol are toxic to pets. Discarded bones are also a potential hazard. Make sure to keep the trashcan out of your pet’s reach as well as leftover food off the counter. Get a list of toxic foods from your veterinarian, and ask well-meaning guests not to sneak snacks to your pet.

Holiday Decorations

The holiday tree is the center of attention, especially for our feline friends. Avoid decorating with tinsel or fragile ornaments. Tinsel can cause intestinal blockages which require surgery. Broken ornaments can cause injury or be toxic. Putting additives in the tree’s water is also hazardous, and liquid potpourris damage the mouth, eyes and skin. Popular holiday plants, such as poinsettias, mistletoe and holly are poisonous to pets. Get a complete list of toxic plants from your veterinarian or ASPCA, and remember to never leave your pet alone with lit candles.

Holiday Travel

Holidays include long lines and traffic jams. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends seeing your veterinarian before traveling with your pet. If you’re traveling by car, make sure your dog or cat is properly restrained with an approved harness or in a carrier. Never travel with your pet in the bed of a truck. Air travel is especially risky for pets with flatter faces and compressed airways, such as pugs, bull dogs and Persians. International travel requires a veterinary health certificate. Make sure to schedule an appointment for this certificate within the timeframe required.

Getting Lost

Veterinarians see a spike in lost pets during the holidays. Nervous pets dart out doors as guests are coming and going. New Year’s fireworks make them run quickly. Whether traveling or staying at home, always make sure you have quick access to your pet’s medical history and any identifying information, such as microchips or tattoos.

Holidays are busy and stressful. Don’t forget your pet is among the bustle. If you should find yourself making a holiday vet visit, remember PetHero offers 25% discounts on many veterinary services as well 24/7 lost pet concierge service.