Letter From The President

Holidays are always a chaotic time of year with many holiday parties, shopping excursions and often extra house guests. Although we find ourselves with these ‘once a year’ happenings, it’s still important to maintain a consistent schedule when it comes to your pet. Consistency provided to your pet will help reduce the stress that your pet will picking up from you (Oh no I forgot Aunt Sarah’s party!), the strange smells, new people and occasionally modified schedule that comes along with all the holiday cheer.

A stressed pet can also lead to other health ailments such a diarrhea, loss of appetite, anxiety (or possibly destructive behavior) ….all additions to the season that would increase YOUR stress (and who really needs any more of that).

Also, including your pet in your holiday celebrations and activities should depend on the temperament of your pet. Some animals are social while others are fearful and would benefit from a quiet place where they can be away from the activity.

We can never have too many reminders on ways to have safer festivities. Here are a few more worth mentioning:

Avoid Holiday Decor Dangers

Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.

Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

That Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!

Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

Skip the Sweets: By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate, and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.

Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.

Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

For additional holiday tips, please visit and as always, we wish all the members of your family a joyous and festive holiday season!

See you in 2018!


Jennifer Brown

President, VSAS