How to Handle Pet Emergencies Around the Holidays

How to Handle Pet Emergencies Around the Holidays - Cat and dog sneaking milk and cookies

Pet emergencies are common during the holidays and can be complicated due to travel, holiday decorations, dietary indiscretions, and veterinarian office closures. But, with a little knowledge and preparation, you can relax and enjoy the holiday season.

Traveling safely with your pet during the holidays

Whether you travel with your pet or not is a question some of us have to weigh when we plan our extended vacations. If you are nervous about boarding, consider hiring a pet sitter as a first option. There are various types of pet services, including arranging for a sitter or walker. If you do opt to take your pet with you, consult your vet about any required paperwork or other important plans.

Consider consulting a veterinarian before traveling with your pet as they have years of experience with various animal behaviors and health conditions. A vet can help you make an informed decision on whether you should fly, drive, or travel with your pet at all.

If you want to travel by plane with your dog, check with your airline to see what they require and what your options are. Health certificates are required for interstate travel with pets, and international health certificates can take months to prepare. Airlines may also have size and breed restrictions, carrier requirements, and other policies you will need to follow. It can be complicated and time-consuming to meet all the requirements, so make sure you understand everything you need to do before purchasing a ticket for your pet.

When traveling by car, there are other steps you will need to take to keep your pet safe. The same requirements for health certificates for interstate and international travel apply. Plan to stop frequently to give your pet a break. Make sure their collar or harness and leash or pet carrier are secure and remember to take plenty of food, water, and treats. If your pet is on any medications, be sure to pack those as well. Taking a road trip with your pet is a great way to spend time together, plus you get to stop and enjoy the sights along the way.

Traveling with your pet during the holidays can be fun and enjoyable — and safe — with a little preparation ahead of time.

Keeping your pet safe around holiday decorations and food

While we all enjoy the holiday season, it also presents some situations that could develop into an emergency for your pet. You can minimize unwanted emergencies during the holidays, whether traveling or staying at home, by following this holiday checklist on how to keep your pet safe during the holidays.

  • Safeguard your home by keeping holiday trinkets and trimmings out of your pet’s reach at all times. In addition to holiday trimmings, learn about ordinary pet household hazards
  • Use a dog crate or gate if you are away and think your furry friend might figure out how to access decorations
  • Choose a safe-for-your-pet indoor plant by reviewing the list of toxic plants
  • Secure your Christmas tree properly and monitor your cat at all times around the tree
  • Bundle up and secure any loose ends of your holiday lights
  • You run the risk of your cat burning themselves if they get close to a lit candle, so keep scented holiday candles and Menorahs out of reach
  • Breaking bread and sharing meals with our family and friends is an expression of love, but avoid giving meal scraps to your pets and ask your relatives to refrain from doing so. Stick with pet-formulated treats to keep your beloved pets well. Here is a list of foods that are safe for pets and a list of commonly harmful foods
  • It is critical that you supervise your pet at all times

It’s important that you monitor your pet’s behavior closely during the holidays. If they are exhibiting symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or vomiting, consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible.

How can I be prepared for a pet emergency during the holidays?

Now that you have a better understanding of how to keep your dog or cat safe during the holidays, what do you do in the event that something does happen? In short, be prepared. Our veterinarians recommend making a plan for your pet in case of an emergency. Whether traveling with your furry companion or staying home for the holidays, being prepared will give you peace of mind and could be vital for your pet’s well-being.

If you are staying home for the holidays, know what your veterinarian’s holiday office schedule is. Then, have a backup plan. Many cities have emergency vet clinics available 24/7. Either check online or ask your veterinarian for recommendations.

If you are traveling to visit family and friends for the holidays, look for veterinarians in the area you are traveling to and find out what their holiday schedule is. Again, you will want to have a primary veterinarian located, as well as a backup veterinarian available.

Another step you can take to be better prepared during the holiday season is to choose an online veterinarian from Vetster. Telehealth provides convenient 24/7 availability, with veterinarians available outside of clinic hours. You can book your appointment from your phone when traveling during the holidays, so you can have access to great veterinary care anywhere you are.

By taking these steps, you will be better prepared to quickly address any emergency situations that may arise for your furry friend during the holidays.

FAQ - How to manage pet emergencies over the holidays

My dog ate a part of a toy. What should I do?

You should always consult with your vet if your pet has consumed a foreign object. Gastrointestinal blockages can occur. If your dog appears weak, lethargic, has abdominal pain or swelling, or is vomiting, seek medical attention immediately.

My dog ate an Ibuprofen. Should I be concerned?

Even though it’s safe for humans, ibuprofen is toxic to dogs and cats.  Always check with a veterinarian before giving your dog any medication.

My cat has diarrhea. Should I be concerned?

Diarrhea occurs in cats for various reasons. If your cat is elderly, pregnant, chronically ill, or is a kitten, we advise you to seek medical attention for your cat.

The Vetster Editorial Team is comprised of seasoned writers and communicators dedicated to elevating stories about Vetster, pets and their owners.

Time for a check-up?

Start a video chat with a licensed veterinary professional right now on Vetster!

Book an online vet

Online veterinarian and virtual pet care services available on-demand.

Available now on Apple and Play stores.

Vet on phone