Palm Harbor Veterinarians Provide Holiday Pet Safety Recommendations

PALM HARBOR, Fla., Dec. 23, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Dr. Joel Murphy of the Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor is urging pet owners to watch out for the safety of their pets over the holiday season. He says that changes in routine, diet, travel and home décor can pose hazards to pets unless pet owners plan ahead. According to Dr. Murphy, he and his fellow Palm Harbor veterinarians almost always experience an increase in emergency visits during this time of year because of these changes. He also urges people to resist the temptation to give pets as gifts, adding that responsible pet adoption is a lifetime commitment.

"We're trying to proactively get the word out this year about holiday pet hazards," says Dr. Murphy. "The kids might leave chocolate out, which is toxic for pets; or pets may get stressed out by all the comings and goings during parties or traveling and dash out into traffic, or burn up the Christmas tree by gnawing on strings of lights—but that can all be prevented!"

Dr. Murphy and his fellow Palm Harbor veterinarians list common holiday foods as one of the biggest safety concerns. He warns people to make sure that food items like chocolate, uncooked bread dough, grapes, raisins, avocados, macadamia nuts, onions and sweets are out of reach at all times because they can sicken pets. He also warns that several popular holiday plants are toxic and should be kept out of reach, including mistletoe, holly, poinsettias and even the water from the Christmas tree, which can breed bacteria.

Speaking of the tree, Dr. Murphy recommends blocking it off with a safety gate to keep pets away entirely. He says curious pets can knock trees over. They may also chew on, choke on or swallow tinsel, ribbons, decorations and small toys, he says, adding that these can all lead to veterinary emergencies. Pets can also knock over candles or chew on Christmas light wiring, causing burns, shocks or fire hazards, he says.

Changes in schedule, parties, noise and travel can also stress pets out, adds Dr. Murphy. He recommends keeping pets in a quiet room or in their kennel during these times and making sure they stick to a regular exercise and pet food schedule, adding that pet boarding is the safest option for pets during holiday travel.

"Also, please don't give pets as gifts," stresses Dr. Murphy. "Adopting a pet is wonderful, but it is a lifetime commitment. Everyone in the family needs to understand what a pet needs to stay healthy and happy and be ready to provide that for the pet's life, not just during the holidays."

The Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor provides vaccinations, dental care, pet surgery, grooming and boarding for dogs, cats, and exotic birds. To learn more, visit their website at

CONTACT: The Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor 1-888-667-5235Source: Animal &Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor