In just a few days, we will be ringing in the New Year with friends and family—including those of the four-legged variety. I’ve talked about New Year’s safety in previous columns, but I think it’s such an important topic that I wanted to offer a few refreshers. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we count down to 2013:
Celebratory fireworks or other loud noises can frighten pets: If you are leaving for the evening, make sure your pets are secured in your home. Provide them with a quiet area that is familiar to them, and make sure they have everything they need, such as food, fresh water, safe chew toys for dogs, and a litter box for cats. It’s also helpful to leave on a TV or radio to provide ambient noise. Even if you plan on a quiet New Year's at home, remember that neighbors may be celebrating and could disturb your pet. Be sure to take all the same precautions.
Microchip, microchip, microchip! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Please make sure your pets are microchipped and that they wear proper identification at all times. They may not prevent your pets from getting lost, but they will ensure a speedy reunion if they do get out. Be sure that your microchip is registered with your contact information and that the ID tag includes your name and address.
Party animals: If you are having a celebration at your home, give your pet a quiet place to get away if your festivities become too overwhelming. Remind your guests that table scraps are a no-no—no matter how cute your pet looks!
Make sure alcohol is out of your pets’ reach: Alcoholic beverages are poisonous and potentially deadly to our pets. If ingested, alcohol could cause our pets to become intoxicated and weak, depressed or comatose. Death from respiratory failure is also possible in severe cases.
Beware of decorations: Streamers, balloons and noisemakers can be very tempting for our pets, but they present a choking hazard if ingested. They also could result in a painful blockage and costly trip to the vet.
Out and about: Take a nice long walk during the day to avoid all of the evening activities, which could include parties, loud noises and potentially unsafe drivers on the road. If you decide to take an evening walk, try using a blinker or lighted collar to make sure you and your pet are visible and safe.
Have a happy and safe New Year, and we’ll see you in 2013!