5 Holiday Pet Safety Tips


America’s favorite winter holidays are just weeks away! We know you’re busy shopping, decorating, and party planning, so we wanted to remind you of a few things to keep your pet safe this holiday season. Consider the following five pet holiday safety tips from Kootenai Animal Hospital in Post Falls. We hope you both have a holly jolly season and a wonderful new year with your pet!

Tinsel and Garland Safety

As you decorate your tree, keep in mind that there are certain decorations like tinsel and garland that can be dangerous to your pet if ingested. This is especially important to remember if you have a cat, since cats are known to be drawn to shiny, stringy items. If ingested, these decorations can pose an obstruction hazard, which may require surgery to correct. So either avoid buying these decorations altogether or keep them in an area where your pet can’t access them.

Keep Pets Away from Christmas Tree Water

Many pet owners opt for real Christmas trees, unaware of the potential dangers that they can create for their pets. To a thirsty pet, a bucket of Christmas tree water is just another harmless bowl of water to slurp up. But if that water contains toxic agents like preservatives and pesticides (often used to keep the tree fresh), drinking it can be very dangerous to a pet. If you have a real Christmas tree in your home, use a tree skirt to cover the water to eliminate any temptation for your pet to drink it. Also make sure to leave plenty of water in your pet’s bowl to keep them hydrated.

Dangers of Holiday Plants

Mistletoe, holly, and lilies are just a few of the seasonal plants that are toxic to pets. If ingested, these plants can result in vomiting, diarrhea, and even kidney failure if treatment isn’t sought. So either keep these plants out of your pet’s reach or choose artificial plants instead. If ever you suspect that your pet has eaten a toxic plant or any other toxic substance, call Kootenai Animal Hospital at (208) 77-6000 or your local emergency veterinary hospital for an after-hours emergency.

Keep Electrical Cords Out of Your Pet’s Reach

If you have a curious pet, don’t string the bottom of your Christmas tree with lights, since many pets are known to paw at twinkling lights or chew on them. Chewing on electrical cords and lights can cause electric shocks and even mouth burns. Keep those Christmas lights out of your curious pet’s reach, or opt for a fiber optic tree instead.

Dangers of Fatty Foods and Table Scraps for Pets

We know you might be tempted to share your holiday meals with your pet, but before you do, keep in mind that there are certain foods that can be dangerous for them. Fatty foods like bacon, sausage, and poultry skin are on the list. These and other fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas. They can also contribute to weight gain and obesity. So as a rule of thumb, avoid feeding your pet any fatty table scraps from your holiday feasts.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of many because it’s a time when we get together with loved ones, give thanks, watch football, and, of course, FEAST! We want your four-legged friends to enjoy this time of year, too, but we also want them to be safe from the food and weather-related dangers. Consider the following Thanksgiving pet safety tips by Kootenai Animal Hospital in Post Falls, ID to make your turkey day with your dog or cat a happy one.
Thanksgiving Pet Safety in Post Falls

Good Table Food vs. Bad Table Food

With those big eyes staring up at you and that soft chin resting on your knee, it can be hard to resist giving your pet some scraps from your Thanksgiving dinner. Although there are some table foods like green beans and other green veggies that are harmless to pets there are others that aren’t, so it’s important to know the difference. Remember to check your trash can to make sure it’s securely closed and inaccessible by your pet, so they don’t go digging for scraps.

Turkey: Turkey is a lean protein that provides many health benefits to both pets and people, so feel free to share a few scraps with your fur baby. Just be sure to give them only the white meat and to remove any excess skin or fat. Too much fatty food can cause pancreatitis, which can leave your pet in pain. It’s also important not to feed your pet any turkey with bones in it, since bones can lead to digestive and obstruction issues.

Mashed Potatoes: If not prepared with a great deal of dairy products like cheese, butter, or sour cream, potatoes are typically safe to feed to your pet. The gravy, however, is not, due to its high fat content.

Onions: Onions and other alliums (garlic, scallions, etc.) are also a no-no for pets. In large amounts, these foods can be toxic to your pet and can affect the red blood cells, leading to anemia, so if you’re feeding your pet scraps, make sure they’re free of these ingredients.

Sweet Foods: On the list of sweet foods that should never be fed to dog or cats are grapes, raisins, chocolate, and food with xylitol (sugar substitute). These foods contain toxic ingredients that can cause a number of health problems for your pet, including vomiting, diarrhea, hypoglycemia, and even kidney failure.

Cold Weather Safety

Here in Idaho, late fall temps can get pretty chilly, so we at Kootenai Animal Hospital want to remind you to keep your pet warm and healthy during the cooler months of the year. Of course, the one obvious way to keep your pet warm is to keep them indoors and limiting their playtime and walk time outdoors when temps are frigid. You may even want to consider purchasing a dog or cat sweater to provide your pet with an extra layer of warmth and protection, especially if you have a hairless or short-haired pet.

Another potential cold weather danger is antifreeze. Many antifreeze products are made with ethylene glycol, which creates a sweet smell and taste. This is what attracts so many animals to it and causes them to drink it, but ingesting even a couple table spoons can be deadly. To protect your pet, switch to an antifreeze brand that’s made with propylene glycol, which, although still dangerous if ingested, is much less toxic. You can also simply be mindful of any antifreeze spills in your garage or driveway, and make sure the containers are properly sealed and stowed away, out of your pet’s reach.

If you ever suspect that your pet has ingested antifreeze or a toxic food, or if you have any questions about these Thanksgiving pet safety tips, contact Kootenai Animal Hospital in Post Falls at (208) 773-6000.


Pet Safety For Halloween

Halloween Pet Safety Tips in Holmdel, NJ

The Halloween season may be fun for us but there are many seasonal dangers that can affect our furry friends. The veterinary team at Kootenai Animal Hospital is committed to keeping our patients safe and healthy during the Halloween season and we’re here to be your partner in your pet’s care. Explore some of the most common Halloween season dangers detailed below, and as always, contact us immediately to speak to Dr. Rogers and the team if you have any questions or if you suspect that your pet is in an emergency situation. Prompt treatment is often the best means of getting your pet back on the road to good health as quickly as possible.

Jack-o-Lanterns, Candles, and Fires, Oh My!

Jack-o-Lanterns are some of the most popular Halloween decorations, and while they can be cute, they can also be quite dangerous! Anytime lit candles are within your pet’s reach, precautions should be taken to ensure that your pet stays safe. We recommend using battery operated candles in your carved pumpkins so that if they are knocked over by your pet, the danger of hot wax and burns is eliminated.

Bonfires can also be dangerous for our pets, especially when they spark. Our pets may not realize how dangerous a fire is and can venture too close, so it’s important that you keep an eye on your pet and make sure they are always supervised around fires.

Sweet Poison: The Danger of Halloween Candy For Pets

Candy, especially sugar-free candy and chocolate, are extremely dangerous for our pets if consumed! These treats contain ingredients that can be toxic for them. If your pet eats any candy, please contact our team right away so we can assess the situation and determine if your pet needs immediately treatment.

Halloween Costume Dangers for Pets

This may not seem like a real danger, but trust us, Halloween costumes have been known to cause many hazards for our pets! If you’re dressing your pet up for Halloween, t’s so important to ensure that your pet is comfortable in their costume and isn’t struggling to get out of it, which can cause them to injure themselves. Never keep your pet in costume if they are unattended and always keep an eye on the situation, watching for signs of discomfort or irritation.


How to Keep Your Pet Safe During Wildfire Season

Wildfire Pet Tips in Post Falls

This summer, residents of the Post Falls area have experienced several wildfires. If your family has not been directly affected by a wildfire, consider yourself fortunate. However, it’s still wise to have an evacuation plan set in place for this season, just in case a wildfire encroaches near your home. It’s also important to consider your pet’s outdoor activities when a wildfire is active, even if an evacuation hasn’t been ordered yet. Consider the following wildfire pet safety tips by Kootenai Animal Hospital in Post Falls so that you and your family can be safe during wildfire season.


  1. Monitor Your Pet’s Outdoor Activity

Even if an evacuation has not be ordered for your specific neighborhood, the smoke in the air can still pose a threat to you and your pets. This includes eye irritation and respiratory problems. When the air quality is at unhealthy levels, it’s best to limit your pet’s time outdoors, especially if they already have known eye or breathing sensitivities. Keep your walks short, too, until you know the wildfires have been completely extinguished and the air quality is safe again. Monitor your pet for wheezing, trouble breathing, or any signs of distress, and call us at (208) 773-6000 if you notice any of these symptoms.

  1. Have an Emergency Kit Packed

When there are pets in your home, there are a few extra steps you should take to ensure their safety during an emergency wildfire evacuation. Although wildfire warnings typically allow ample time for a safe evacuation, it’s best to have your kit packed BEFORE an evacuation is ordered. Your kit should include the basic items for your pet’s care, including food and water, bowls, leash and collar, basic first aid kit, and medications. If you have a cat, remember to pack litter and a portable litter box as well. Your kit should also include copies of your pet’s medical records, even if you have them saved online.

  1. Have a Pet Evacuation Plan Prepared

In addition to the emergency kit mentioned above, make sure to have an actual plan of evacuation set in place that includes your pet. If you’ll be taking your dog or cat with you to your evacuation destination, make sure they are already well adjusted to traveling in a vehicle. If your pet typically travels in a carrier, keep that carrier in your vehicle or somewhere in your home where it is easily accessible. If you plan to board your pet instead, have several boarding facility options in mind that are outside of the evacuation area. Always call the facility ahead of time to be sure that they can safely accept pets.

If you have any questions about these wildfire safety tips for your specific pet, feel free to give us a call at (208) 773-6000. One of our team members will be happy to assist you.

Make Sure They Can Get Home: Check Your Pet’s Microchip

Calico cat in the studio.

Is your pet’s microchip up-to-date? If your pet were lost, would an animal hospital or shelter be able to contact you once your pet was found?

It’s important to get your pet microchipped; but it’s just as important to make sure that microchip contains the correct information in order for your four-legged friend to get home.

How does a microchip work?
The microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is injected by a veterinarian or veterinary technician just beneath your pet’s skin in the area between the shoulder blades. This is usually done without anesthesia, and the experience can be compared to getting a vaccination.

Each microchip has a unique registration number that is entered into a database or registry, and is associated with your name and contact information. If your lost dog or cat is found by an animal hospital, shelter or humane society, they will use a microchip scanner to read the number and contact the registry to get your information.

Make sure you can be found, too
While it may be comforting to know the microchip won’t get lost or damaged, and that it will probably last the pet’s lifetime, the microchip is useless if you’re not updating your contact information with the registry. If your pet has been microchipped, keep the documentation paperwork so you can find the contact information for the registry. If you don’t have the documentation paperwork, contact the veterinarian or shelter where the chip was implanted.

Keep in mind there are more than a dozen companies that maintain databases of chip ID numbers in the U.S. By using AAHA’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup at petmicrochiplookup.org, you can locate the registry for your chip by entering the microchip ID number. If you don’t have your pet’s microchip ID number, have a veterinarian scan it and give it to you.

Only about 17% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats ever find their way back to their owners. Prevent the heartache and ensure your pet has an up-to-date microchip.


Originally published by Healthy Pet.