Last Sunday, I returned from the Cat Writers' Conference in White Plains, N.Y., and dumped a lot of stuff onto the love seat in the living room, intending to fully unpack on Monday. Rhiannon had other ideas. She started guarding the pile of boxes and bags, growling and barking every time Rory got anywhere near the love seat. She especially seemed to want to guard one particular box, which had absolutely nothing in it for dogs. It was a box of registration information, including nametag holders.
So, that box went into the attic and I moved one large bag into the cellar stairway, and emptied another bag, dispersing items to their assigned places. Finally, there were just two empty tote bags on the seat. I thought I could leave them there, but I was wrong. Rhiannon jumped up and as Rory passed by, she growled. So, the two bags also needed to be put away. I had no idea Rhiannon was so compulsive about keeping the house neat and tidy. Now, if only she'd vacuum.
The conference, as always, was fabulous. We have so many remarkable sponsors and our speakers are some of the best in whatever field they represent. One attendee told me that his wife learned how to immediately save $500 in website design. Of course, in another seminar, he learned about some new electronic gadgets and spent it.
One of our sponsors, Hartz Mountain Corporation, sent as a representative, Dr. Elizabette Cohen, a New York City veterinarian. She talked to the group about holiday hazards. One I had never considered was that of burns to a cat or dog. Hot water or grease can burn, and, especially in the case of cats, a cat can jump up to a stovetop surface and burn paws. Dr. Cohen's advice for burns is to immediately cool the area with cold water. Never use ice, which can further damage the injured area, but use very cold water and continue to treat with water until the skin is cool to the touch, before you head for your veterinarian.
If the injury is to a paw, you can hold the paw in a glass or pan of water. If the burn is elsewhere, and you can't easily get water onto that area, use a cloth soaked in cold water, and re-cool the cloth often. Depending on the severity of the burn, you may want to further treat it. Aloe Vera is a good treatment if you have such a plant in your kitchen. Dr. Cohen recommends silver sulfadiazine. You need a prescription for this product, but she suggests asking either your veterinarian or your own doctor for this so that you have the product in case there's an emergency. Treat the burn with the salve; wrap loosely with gauze, and then make the trip to your veterinarian.
Too many fatty foods can also harm your pet. Lean turkey is a nice treat for either your cat or dog, but that fatty skin is on the forbidden foods list, no matter how much your pet begs.
Another real danger is having your pet underfoot. You may be fine with your pet in the kitchen the rest of the year, but during the holidays, there can be more rushing to and fro, and there may be helpers in the kitchen who aren't usually there. You don't want to trip and fall, and you don't want to accidentally step on your pet. Dr. Cohen recommends putting a bell on your pet's neck, to alert you to their presence.
Another solution to keep your pet safe if you're having a party or family get together is to put your cat or dog in a bedroom and shut the door. I know, we all want our pets to be with us, and we want our guests to tell us how cute and wonderful our cat or dog is, but your pet may be safer shut away. Arriving guests mean an open door and it's all too easy for a cat or dog to sneak out and away. Your pet may also be fine during the start of a party, but the extra people and increased noise may eventually cause stress. Let your guests say hello to Fluffy or Fido, and then put your pet in a quiet room with a toy or a treat until the party's over.
Just a few precautions can keep your pet healthy and safe and that means a happy holiday season for everyone.