November is Holiday Safety tips for Pets Month

With Thanksgiving just a few short weeks away, many people have already started making plans and preparations for their holiday feast. While anticipating the fun and pleasure of getting together with family and friends on this festive holiday, in order to prevent any mishaps that could turn Thanksgiving into a pet-related disaster, to help keep them safe and secure, there is plenty of time remaining to make plans for your furry and feathered family members.

Leo (FloridaWild patient)
It's a joy to welcome our guests on Thanksgiving Day. But with all the hustle and bustle coupled with those mouth-watering aromas that emanate from the kitchen some pets may become quite anxious and confused with these deviations from their normal routine. To help keep your pets well-being in mind, the staff at FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital has some great suggestions on how to make your Thanksgiving Day a truly happy and stress-free occasion for all concerned.

Cats are notoriously routine-oriented and detest even minor changes in their daily routine. Keeping it simple is an excellent strategy to help cats remain as calm as possible. When company starts arriving, monitor the front door carefully, since when it is open, this can be a huge attraction for a kitty Houdini.

To prevent your feline from breaking out, a few hours before guests will start arriving, confine your cat into a secure room. Make this room more feline-friendly. Add some toys, a cat tower or scratching post, a litter box, moist food, water and your kitty's favorite bed or blanket. A cardboard carton with a towel offers a cozy place in which he can snuggle, and it also becomes a dandy hiding place.

Common signs of feline anxiety include hiding, loss of appetite, excessive vocalizing, and pacing. A Feliway diffuser (available on Amazon.com or many large pet stores) works wonders to alleviate stress. Playing soft classical music on the radio adds a finishing touch along with frequent visits to make sure all is well with kitty. It's fine to share a little Thanksgiving bounty with your cat. Mixing in a few pieces of skinless boneless turkey with their regular cat food can make it easier to digest. But make no bones about it; cooked bones are brittle with sharp points. They should never be fed to your pets.

While canines may behave more socially than felines, dogs often become anxious and protective when visitors arrive. Some signs of anxiety include hiding, panting, shaking, and inappetence. To allay anxiety and avoid aggressive behavior, we suggest leaving the dog in a secure room with the TV on or a radio broadcasting soft music can work wonders.

Birds also can become quite nervous with a house full of company and changes to their routine. Signs of avian stress include ruffled feathers, puffing up, hanging out at the cage bottom, heavy breathing, tail bobbing and inappetence. We suggest that pet birds should either be caged outdoors (temperature permitting) or in a quiet room away from strangers. Similarly to dogs and cats, pet birds are extremely sensitive to burning smells (fragrant candles, plug-ins and the scent of flowers). Excessive smoke from burning foods can cause birds serious respiratory problems - or even death. Therefore you should avoid cooking in Teflon coated pans and leave several windows cracked for proper ventilation.

Before sharing Thanksgiving fare with your pets, check out the list of foods  that are toxic or poisonous to cats, dogs and birds. If you suspect that your pet ingested a toxic substance, immediately contact an emergency veterinary clinic or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline. They are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 888-426-4435. There is a fee of $65 per case.

The FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital staff wishes you and your pets a very happy and safe Thanksgiving. To celebrate Thanksgiving and to help alleviate stress and anxiety in your pets, we are offering 10% off on Vetri-Science Composure (either in liquid or soft chews). Composures ingredients work together to support relaxation without changing your pets energy levels or personality.

By: Jo Singer, MSW, CSW

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