The holidays are upon us and it can be easy to get so wrapped up in the preparations and festivities that we overlook the potential dangers posed to our pets by the change in the ‘norm’ that they are used to. As a compassionate and dedicated exotic pet owner, you will be eager to ensure that your pet is kept safe during the holiday season. By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of experiencing an emergency this Christmas.
Some animals enjoy eating human foods, but this doesn’t necessarily make it the best thing for your pet’s health. In some cases, even a nibble of human festive treats can be harmful or even deadly to your exotic creature. Birds love to snack on salty corn chips, while ferrets and other exotic mammals may seem unable to resist the lure of chocolate – and who can blame them. However, the safest thing for your exotic pet this Christmas is to keep all human foods well out of reach. Clear plates away quickly and make sure the garbage is secure so that your pet can’t get into it and rake out the scraps. Also, be sure that your guests know not to feed your animals. They may think they are being generous, but they should be informed of just how dangerous these “treats” can be.
Not all pets enjoy being handled, particularly in the case of some types of exotic pets. The visible changes to your home during the holiday season can be overwhelming enough without adding to your pet’s stress levels by being handled. If your pet was to be handled by someone who lacks experience, there is also a risk that they could be accidentally dropped or damaged in some way. Make sure that any guests you have are respectful towards your pet and understand the house rules when it comes to interacting with them.
Christmas trees and other decorations that we put up during the festive season can be very tempting to curious pets. However, many of these can pose a potential hazard to our animals. Baubles and other tree trinkets are usually made from glass or plastic that can shatter and result in sharp edges or pose a choking hazard. Exposed electrical wires can be chewed on, putting your pet at risk of an electric shock. While other decorations can get wrapped around them and cause injury.
Many of us like to light candles and incense or use oil warmers in the winter. They help create a nice sense of ambience, making the room seem warm and cosy, as well as giving out a delicious scent. However, fumes from these items can have dramatic and even deadly effects on the sensitive respiratory tracts of some animals, and in particular, birds.
If you are going away at any point over the holiday season and you aren’t able to take your pet with you, be sure that you leave them in experienced, capable hands. Caring for an exotic pet is very different from looking after a cat or dog. Specialist knowledge and understanding of your pet’s species is crucial. If you don’t have a friend or family member who can take on this responsibility, consider booking your pet into an exotic animal boarding facility where trained professionals can deliver the care that your pet needs.
For more advice on the best way to keep your exotic pet safe this holiday, please get in touch with our expert veterinary team.