Happy Holidays!


It's Ashley and Sarah here at GCPH, with some information about how to 
keep your pets safe and happy this holiday season. We all enjoy the holidays 
and all the food, family, and friends that accompany this time of year. But the 
festivities can also be dangerous for our furry friends. Pet-proofing your home 
is an important part of keeping them safe this holiday season. Here are a few 
tips to keep in mind: 

-Avoid dangerous and toxic items. Decorations such as mistletoe, 
poinsettias, holly, lilies, yarn, ribbons, and tinsel can be dangerous to pets. 
It's best to avoid these items all together. Your home doesn't have to lack 
holiday cheer, however! There are safe alternatives to many of these items. 
As an alternative to tinsel, silver paper ornaments can be used. Or tinsel can 
be placed inside a clear bulb. It's also a good idea to keep all holiday 
decorations out of your pets' reach. Try elevating the Chistmas tree off of the 
ground to keep low-hanging ornaments away from cats. Electric strings of 
lights can be deadly if chewed on. Cover all electrical cords with duct tape or 
use battery-powered strings of lights instead. Imported snow globes have also 
been found to contain anti-freeze, which is extremely toxic to animals, so be 
sure to keep these far out of pets' reach. 

-The holidays are full of delicious treats, but some of these can also be 
dangerous to your pets. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. Alcohol is also 
toxic to animals and should NEVER be given. Bread dough containing yeast 
can be deadly, as it can expand in a pet's stomach. Raisins, grapes, onions, 
and garlic are also toxic to pets. Sugar-free sweets such as gum and candy 
containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol are also poisonous. Leftover food, 
especially fatty meat scraps, can produce severe inflammation of the 
pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal pain, vomiting, and bloody 
diarrheaÂ… and no one wants that! 

-Living in Minnesota, we have some serious cold weather to contend with. 
There are a few important things to keep in mind to make sure your pet stays 
comfortable on even the chilliest days. Contrary to popular belief, our pets' fur 
alone cannot adequately protect them from the elements. Bringing pets 
indoors is ideal on cold days and nights. If that is not an option, they should 
have a well-insulated shelter just large enough for them to curl up inside to 
maintain their body heat. Heating pads or blankets can help keep the shelter 
warm enough. It is also essential to have a heated water bowl that will not 
allow the water to freeze. When taking your pets outside for walks and potty 
breaks, it's a good idea to put a coat or sweater on short-haired or naturally 
lean breeds. As silly as it may seem, it will keep your furry friend toasty 
warm! It's also a good idea to wipe their paws after being outside so they 
cannot ingest any de-icing salts, which can be toxic. 

-All the company that comes and goes during the holidays may be fun for us, 
but it can be stressful for our pets. Make sure your pet has a safe place 
where they can go to escape the commotion. There are also pheromone 
sprays available that can help to naturally calm pets. These include Feliway 
for cats and DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) and come in sprays, collars, 
and a diffuser. These products can also be helpful when traveling with pets. If 
you plan bring pets along when you travel, remember to keep them safe in a 
carrier or kennel, and keep in mind that some state and most airlines require 
a health certificate for travel. 

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us anytime. We wish 
you and your pets a safe and happy holiday season from our entire staff at 
Granite City Pet Hospital!