Monday, November 21, 2005

Thanksgiving Pet Care and Safety


Things change at the holidays. New people come to your house with strange new things, you rearrange furniture, you come and go more. You’re distracted, more tired, and more emotional than usual, which means you can fail to pay attention to important things.

At the same time, all these things confuse your animal companion, causing them to do things they ordinarily wouldn’t do that can bring harm to them.

The most important thing is your pet’s health and life. Second to this, your time and money are precious, and trips to the vet and extra bills aren’t pleasant with Christmas coming up.

Here are some precautions for the safety of your animal companion:

1. Keep careful track of visitors’ possessions.

People bring all sorts of things in their suitcases and purses, like nitroglycerine and sleeping pills. Keep purses and luggage up off the floor, closed and latched. Cats can climb, as you know so nothing’s really safe. Ex Lax, Chew tabs, and other items with chocolate in them might be in a visitor’s suitcase or purse. Chocolate contains theobromine which can be fatal to animals, even in small doses.

2. Keep your animal companion on their regular regime and diet.

It’s tempting to carve the roast beef or turkey and throw scraps to the dog. There’s their weight to consider, but also, if you’ve done this they usually end up vomiting. Happy Thanksgiving!

3. Protect your animal companion from new people and vice versa.

Guests can agitate and excite your pet so they get in trouble, do bizarre things, and also harm people.

Consider for instance your Macaw. You know all about your bird, but many people aren’t familiar with their habits and may, as I once did, stick my finger right in the cage to get friendly, and … “the Macaw uses its bill to score and then, in steel-cutter fashion, shear the nuts in two so cleanly that the cut surfaces resemble the work of a metal-cutting saw or laser …” and it’s ho-ho-ho, off to the emergency room we go.

4. Don’t let your pet eat all gifts that are presented!

The houseguest from hell, I brought homemade dog biscuits for a friend’s dog once, which gave it terrible diarrhea and we were all up all night. People often bring chocolate and plants or flowers that might be poisonous. Holly and mistletoe are poisonous to both humans and animals, and poinsettias, though not technically poisonous, don’t sit well.

5. Rabbits like to chew electrical cords.

You’ll be getting out more extension cords this time of year. Cover them with duct tape and get them out of the way as best you can.

6. Tranquilize your pet or tranquilize their environment.

This is an option that may be best for your animal companion. Some animals are innately high-strung, just as some people are. Consult your veterinarian, or secure the animal in a quiet room, or put them oudoors if they’re the excitable type.

8. Watch carefully the animal that isn’t used to children, and vice versa. Children do not naturally know how to behave with animals, and the excitement can lead to injury of either party. Animals can bite when agitated. Children can let the hamster or snake out of its cage, forget to close the cage, leave doors open so the dogs and cats run out, give animals food they shouldn’t eat, pull ears, step on tails and otherwise torture animals because they haven’t had the opportunity to learn pet care.

9. Guard against escapes!

The holidays are greatly loved by the pet who loves to escape. Your guests may not be used to closing doors quickly as they exit. If you have such a knave in your house that shoots for the door at every opportunity, explain to kids and houseguests, don’t count on it working, make sure the pets have tags, or take the animal to the vets for a couple of days. Sometimes that’s the only safe course of action. Older visitors with bifocals who may also be forgetful of instructions, can step on small pets, or rock on their tales while sitting in the rocker.

Your animal companion counts of you for food, shelter, and safety. Be there for them at Thanksgiving and all the year.

Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach,, . Coaching, Internet courses, and ebooks for wellness, success, and personal and professional development. #1 rated EQ coach certification program – fast, affordable, no-residency requirement, work at your own pace. Neutraceuticals for your health, to support your immune system – . Email for fre* ezine.

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