As we get older, we become wiser after learning from our mistakes. One mistake many pet owners make is including their furry companions in their holiday festivities, without thinking how to make the celebration pet-friendly. Although pets are part of the family and we want to include them, holiday hazards abound for our four-legged friends. Without careful planning and monitoring, you and your pet may end up in an emergency veterinary hospital. Let’s look at how one pet and her family learned from past mistakes and plan to enjoy their holiday this year without worry.

Cricket’s holiday catastrophe

Cricket, a tiny toy poodle, is the apple of her mother’s eye. Weighing in at a mere three pounds, this little lady is a lightweight who has severe stomach sensitivities, but still has her mom wrapped around her paw when it comes to begging for forbidden foods. In Cricket’s eyes, the holiday season kicked off well, with sneaky bites of Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, and her favorite—bread pudding. 

Although Cricket believed Thanksgiving was a delicious experience and couldn’t wait for next year, she suffered in the aftermath. The next day, she was as sick as … well, as sick as a dog. The beautiful white curls around her mouth were stained yellow from vomited bile, and she couldn’t look at the messy matting on her hind end. Poor Cricket was miserable, yelping in pain when her mom tried to pick her up for a snuggle. 

Cricket had to visit her veterinarian, who hospitalized her for a few days to provide nursing care for her severe pancreatitis. The veterinarian also wanted to monitor her kidney function, as Cricket’s mom fessed up and admitted to slipping her raisin-filled bread pudding, which can cause kidney failure in dogs. 

Once Cricket was out of the woods and back home, her mom swore she would not share any other holiday goodies.

As Christmas approached, Cricket’s mom couldn’t resist dressing up her darling diva as an elf. Since Cricket was such a tiny girl, none of the costumes fit well. Cricket pranced around in her oversized costume, with its large ears, pointed shoes, and huge hat, while her mom applauded. Then, the enormous hat slipped over her eyes, frightening her. She panicked and bolted, heading straight for the staircase. Fortunately, Cricket’s mom nabbed her before she tumbled down, and she swore to cross costumes off her pet holiday list, as well.

On Christmas Eve, presents were piled under the tree, with a large mound tied together and labeled for Cricket. Cricket may not have been able to read, but her nose sniffed out her gifts, and as the family settled in front of the fire, she snuck over to her stack of presents and attacked the ribbon. Alerted by the rustling, Cricket’s mom flew over and yanked the entire stack out of reach. Thankfully, Cricket’s tiny teeth weren’t capable of doing much damage and she hadn’t eaten any ribbon. Can you guess what happened next? That’s right—no beautifully wrapped gifts for Cricket.

To kick off the end of the year, Cricket’s family hosted a New Year’s Eve party. Festive candles dotted tabletops, cocktails were mixed, and the doorbell kept ringing. Normally, Cricket loved hanging out with her family and friends, but she began to feel overwhelmed. The next hand that reached for her pushed her over her limit and she bolted for freedom, knocking over the candle on the coffee table. Drinks were plentiful and the flame was quickly doused, but Cricket’s fear wasn’t easily quenched. She felt as if she needed a stiff drink to calm her nerves. As the New Year countdown began, Cricket began her own countdown under the bed—the countdown to when her home would be her own again.  

Lessons learned

Poor Cricket had a rough holiday season last year, but with proper planning and close monitoring, this year will be much merrier. Were you able to spot the mistakes Cricket’s family made during the holidays concerning her safety? Ensure you do not follow in their footsteps:

  • Forbid people food Our holiday favorites tend to be loaded with fat, sugar, spices, and seasonings that aren’t safe for our pets, and small quantities can pack a large punch, causing vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, pancreatitis, foreign body obstructions, kidney or liver failure, or anemia.
  • Chuck the costumes — There are some adorable costumes for pets, but ill-fitting costumes pose a serious threat. Pets may eat the buttons and other small objects, or the costume may affect their breathing or vision. Stick with a holiday-themed bandana or collar instead of an entire costume. 
  • Remove the ribbon — Who doesn’t love spoiling their pets with special gifts? Since your pet likely won’t be impressed with your beautiful wrapping job, skip the ribbons and bows and offer her an unadorned gift. Ingested ribbon may end up as a foreign obstruction that requires surgery.
  • Pass on parties — While many pets are comfortable around small groups of people they know, parties can be nerve-wracking. Loud music, chattering strangers, and too many people reaching for a pet can freak out the most sociable of party animals. Provide a quiet, safe place for your pet away from the hubbub.

If, despite your best efforts, your pet doesn’t heed your careful holiday planning and gets into trouble, give us a call.