While the holidays are a joyous occasion for families, this time of year can be riddled with dangers for another group of loved ones – pets. Data on insured pets from Trupanion shows that toxicity claims spike nearly 25% in December, and foreign body ingestion rises 10% at year’s end.
Traditional holiday décor like poinsettias, tinsel, ornaments, and holly can put pets at risk for vomiting and even cardiovascular distress if ingested – leading to costly veterinary bills. Foreign body ingestion alone costs $1,400 on average to treat, so it’s important to be proactive when preparing for the holidays.
Follow these tips for a safe and “paw”some holiday season:
Beware of Poisonous Plants
Poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and certain lilies look festive but are dangerous if ingested. Christmas tree water can also contain toxic pesticides or fertilizers. Keep these toxic plants away from your pets, cover the water for the tree, and make sure your pets always have plenty of fresh water.
Keep tinsel, ribbon, and ornaments out of tails’ reach, as they often prove too tempting for curious pets to avoid but can result in costly vet visits when chewed or swallowed. Be sure to tape down electrical cords, too!
De-Ice Those Paws!
Remove any snow, salt, or de-icing chemicals from pets’ paws right away after being outside in the cold. Frostbitten skin, which will appear red or gray, should be warmed with a moist, warm towel until the skin returns to its regular color.
No matter how much they beg, avoid giving your pets table food – especially raw meat and cooked bones. Reward your pet by making them their own festive (and healthy!) foods, like gingerbread and pumpkin treats.
Another holiday hazard – and one pet owners should keep their eye on throughout the year – is a pet’s food intake. Pet owners with overweight pets spend as much as five times more in veterinary expenses than pet owners with average-sized pets. Follow these trim down tips for pets to help them feel their best in the New Year.
Control how much your pet eats
Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s caloric needs and measure portions of food for your pet, instead of free pouring or “eye-balling it.”
Control when your pet eats
Cut back on treat snacking between meals. The calories in treats can really add up, they should only make up about 10% of your pet’s caloric intake. Cut up small pieces of fruits and veggies, such as apples, carrots, or bananas, for healthy treats to reward your pet with.
Keep your pet’s diet varied
Try warming up food, adding ketchup, oregano, mashed pumpkin or sweet potato, or even a splash of a fish oil supplement or salmon juice to make diet food more enticing and enjoyable for your pet.
However you celebrate this holiday season, Trupanion hopes you do so in good health and happiness. That’s why they are waiving enrollment fees for the entire month of December. Give the gift of health to your pets with Trupanion coverage and pay no enrollment fees this month: go to TRUPANION.COM/BESTGIFT or call 855.532.2940 and provide promo code: BESTGIFT.
Happy “Howl”idays to you and your four-legged friends!
Dr. Kerri Marshall
Dr. Kerri Marshall, DVM, is Trupanion’s Chief Veterinary officer, responsible for inventing and developing a veterinary software system to help pay veterinarians directly so pet owners do not have to pay the full veterinary bill out of pocket upfront. Before joining Trupanion, she worked for 16 years at Banfield Pet Hospitals and in private practice at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Marshall graduated with her doctorate in veterinary medicine from Washington State University. She also completed an executive program and received a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Oregon.