Pet Safety Tips for the Winter Holidays
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! VERG would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday and, most importantly, safe celebrations for all the pets out there. As such, our staff is advising pet owners to be aware of the following dangers during the upcoming holiday season.
A common health hazard for pets is the ingestion of holiday candy, chocolate or other food containing the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can pose significant risks if ingested. Symptoms of ingesting harmful toxins like xylitol include: vomiting, diarrhea, accelerated breathing or heart rate, loss of coordination, seizures, hypoglycemia and can even lead to death. Additionally, candy wrappers and all forms of chocolate can threaten your pet’s health if consumed. VERG doctors recommend that pet owners keep any candy in a confined, elevated location like a pantry and to ask family, friends and other guests to not feed pets during holiday meals, especially if the animal has food restrictions.
Pet parents should also be cautious of Christmas decorations as they can pose serious threats, such as choking, strangulation or other injuries. What’s more, tinsel, electric cords, candles and ornaments should be kept out of paw’s reach at all times.
If a pet is prone to running away, the continuous opening and closing of a door for friends, family and other invited guests can increase the likeliness of a family pet running away. Owners should therefore confine their pets to a secure area during peak visiting hours, as well as ensure that their pets are properly microchipped and wearing updated identification tags. In fact, a study conducted by the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine reported that 73% of owners with microchipped dogs and cats are contacted about their missing animal (microchipped dogs are 2.4 times more likely to be reunited with their owner, and microchipped cats are 21.4 times more likely to be returned home).
“The rush of the holiday season can often rearrange a person’s priorities, including those involving their pet,” according to Dr. Brett Levitzke, chief medical officer of VERG. “Whether traveling for the holidays or hosting, taking a few precautions to ensure your pet remains safe during the hustle and bustle could be the difference between a fun holiday season and an unexpected vet bill.”
Please follow all of the pet safety tips outlined above, and remember—VERG is open 24/7, 365 days out of the year to service pet-related emergencies and trauma. For more information, please visit www.verg-brooklyn.com/contact-us/ or call us at 718.522.9400, located at 196 4th Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11207.