The holiday season is a time of joy, cheer, and generosity—and a chaotic time for our pets. While many of our holiday plans may be dialed down this year, helping your pets keep a routine with adequate exercise and attention is still important. Additionally, keeping pets safe and secure from certain holiday hazards is absolutely essential. Here’s how:

Take a holiday tour of your own home

Decking the halls is one of the most festive, enjoyable parts of the holiday season. From trees to twinkling lights to elves on shelves, who doesn’t love breaking out the seasonal decor? While we fully encourage you to decorate your home, be mindful of your choices. Take a pet’s-eye view of popular decor items.

  • Christmas trees — Real trees pose a few different challenges. You’ll need to secure the area around the stand to ensure pets cannot access and drink the water, especially if you have added fertilizers or other chemicals. Consider tethering your tree, whether real or artificial, to a wall or trim so rambunctious pets cannot knock it over, possibly injuring themselves or others. 
  • String lights — These popular twinkling items pose a serious risk for electrical shock to curious pets who mistake them for a chew toy. They can also become lodged in the stomach or intestines if pets ingest them. 
  • Menorahs and candles — Cozy candles are a wonderful holiday decor addition when used safely. Consider swapping real candles for battery-operated ones, and ensure all are kept on sturdy surfaces with no pet access.  

Pay attention to seasonal plants

They may seem harmless, but certain holiday plants can actually cause mild to severe effects in pets—sometimes after only a few nibbles. Where holly and poinsettias can lead to gastrointestinal upset, large amounts of mistletoe can cause heart or neurologic problems. Only small amounts of any part of a lily can lead to kidney failure in cats. If possible, opt for faux holiday flora this year. 

Take a stance on table scraps

You may be tempted to treat your pet to a few tastes of that delicious holiday meal, but if you want to avoid an emergency veterinary visit, stick with their regular dog or cat food. Not only are many popular holiday foods toxic for pets—think chocolate, garlic, and raisins—but these often heavy, fat-laden dishes can also quickly put your pet on the path to pancreatitis. If you absolutely must treat your pet this season, try whipping up a batch of these dog-friendly holiday snacks—given sparingly, of course. 

Let guests know your house rules

While this year may be different, with fewer parties and visitors, discussing household and pet policies is prudent if you plan to have house guests. Ask visitors to keep all toiletries, medications, and other potentially hazardous products out of paws’ reach—especially if curious puppies or kittens are around. If your pet has allergies to certain foods or other items, tell your guests, and mention which and when treats are safe. Some pets have specific likes and dislikes about food, touch, or toys. Communicate these particulars with your visitors to avoid any unsavory interactions.

Set healthy New Year goals for your pet

The new year is always rife with resolutions and promises for healthier decisions. But, did you ever consider your pet as part of that plan? Lucky for you, Otay Pet Vets offers some unbelievable specials for new and existing clients, ensuring that your pets receive exceptional care at an affordable price. Take advantage of our New Year specials to get your pet off on the right paw:

  • New client discount — If you’re new to Otay Pet Vets, you’re in luck! We offer a discounted, nose-to-tail physical examination for all new pets. Was your pet recently rescued? They may qualify for a free exam, so contact us to determine your pet’s eligibility. 
  • Wellness rewards membership — Our puppy and kitten wellness programs are a phenomenal way to protect your pet through their most vulnerable months. We’ll take care of their vaccinations, spay or neuter surgery, and much more—all you need to remember is to bring your pet in for their appointments. Learn more about our wellness rewards membership, including how a portion of the proceeds goes to the Veterinary Care Foundation, on our website. 

The holiday season is meant to be full of pleasant memories and traditions—not an emergency trip to the veterinary hospital. Keep your pets safe and secure by prepping your home and guests with your furry family members in mind. At Otay Pet Vets, we are dedicated to the health and wellness of your pets. Contact us to set up your new year’s appointment—we can’t wait to see you in 2021!