This New Year’s Eve will be a popular time for families and friends to celebrate 2012 and toast all the possibilities of 2013. Often, this means big family gatherings and festive parties. Because dogs and cats are considered part of the family, they are likely to be included in these activities, and pet health and safety experts say that means additional planning considerations should be taken by pet owners.
Dr. Kerri Marshall, Chief Veterinary Officer at Trupanion, a leading provider of pet insurance in North America, says it’s important to consider the unique needs of pets during these fun yet chaotic times. “When pets experience stress and anxiety that come with the unexpected break in their routine, they can react in ways that are potentially harmful,” says Dr. Marshall. “It’s our job as guardians to protect them from this stress and set them up for success during the holidays.”
Dr. Marshall offers the following useful tips for preparing pets for New Year’s Eve festivities:
Use pet-safe decorations. Flameless candles are a great option for preventing burned noses and tails, and plastic decorations instead of glass are less likely to break if knocked off tables. Also reconsider the use of balloons and streamers, as these are easily ingested and can cause serious issues.
Don’t share your drinks. Any form of alcohol can not only make your pet sick, but can potentially be life threatening. “We have one dog in our Trupanion family who got into some alcohol and needed almost $700 in veterinary care,” recounts Dr. Marshall. “A trip to the E.R. is a sure way to turn a cheerful evening into a nightmarish experience.”
Prepare for fireworks. Often, fireworks or noisemakers are used to ring in the new year. These loud noises can scare pets who may try to run away from the noise (and therefore the home). It’s beneficial for the pet to be in a calm, secure environment away from these sounds so they stay as safe as possible. Playing classical or soothing music to drown out the noise, and providing a long-lasting treat to keep the pet occupied, can help as well.
Invest in pet insurance. Pet insurance is the best way to make sure there is never any barrier to your pet receiving the best care, and is especially important during the holidays when the chance of accidents happening is higher.
Dr. Jason Nicholas, the mind behind The Preventive Vet, also stresses safety and prevention during New Year’s Eve festivities, especially as it relates to party guests.
Coats and purses can be dangerous to pets because of what is often inside of them, says Dr. Nicholas, because many people keep their cigarettes, gum, medications, and other items in their coat pockets or bags. The ingestion of these items can cause serious harm to pets and likely will result in a trip to the E.R. To avoid this, hang all coats and bags safely in a closet or on a coat rack that cannot be knocked over by the pet.
It’s also important to educate guests on how to appropriately interact with your pets, says Dr. Nicholas. This could include a short list of “rules” such as not feeding pets any table food, not letting pets outside, and not bothering pets when they are in their “safe place”, such as in their crate.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is a famous quote by Benjamin Franklin. And following this philosophy will help everyone enjoy this festive time of year.
Heather Kalinowski lives in the Seattle area with her husband, newborn son, and two rescued pups – an Italian Greyhound named Ava and a Spaniel mix named Jackson. She enjoys reading, writing, spending time with her family, and volunteering with Italian Greyhound Rescue.