Holidays Brings Seasonal Challenges for Pet Owners

How to keep your dog and cat safe in cold, snow and during the holidays


The winter holidays are a time of family and joy, and for pet owners the celebration may include the furry members of the family.


Cook County Animal and Rabies Control is urging pet owners to take special precautions for the health and welfare of their dogs and cats as the holidays gets under way.


Dr. Donna Alexander, Administrator of the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control, offers a number of tips for pet owners to keep in mind during winter and the upcoming holidays. 


“The holidays are a joyous time and the department wishes your entire family a safe and festive holiday season. Our goal is to make your holiday season equally safe for your companion animals,” Dr. Alexander said.


Among her recommendations:

No treats from the table:  There are many food items consumed by humans that may prove toxic to animals.  No chocolate, stuffing containing sage, grapes or raisins should be given to any pets.  A dropped turkey drumstick can cause a perforation in your dog’s intestinal tract.  A swallowed half an ear of corn on the cob can cause an intestinal obstruction requiring major surgery.  In addition, keep alcoholic beverages out of a pet’s reach.

Keep Christmas decorations safe:  Tinsel and poinsettias can be toxic.  If you are able, elevate your Christmas decorations above the grasp of your pet.  Better yet, surround your tree with animal barricade such as child-proof fencing.

Provide a safe haven for pets:  Create a quiet spot for your pets where they can get away from the seasonal merriment.  Acclimate them to their safe haven by placing familiar smells (blankets, pillows) or toys in the area you have designated.  When guests arrive, make sure they are aware that this “pet secure” area should not be disturbed.

Display rabies tags on collars and secure egress:  Dogs and cats can become bewildered by the increase number of holiday guests and often try to escape.  Remind your guests to close doors when entering or leaving and to secure gates.  Make sure that your animal is wearing identification in case of escape.


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