It may be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but it can also be the most dangerous for your pet. Holiday decorations and festive foods can put your pet at risk, so take precautions to prevent holiday mishaps.
The Christmas tree presents a range of hazards to your cat or dog:
- Be sure it is well secured so that it won’t come toppling down if your pet jumps into or onto it.
- Use ribbon or string rather than ornament hangers, which can act like fish hooks and get lodged in your pet’s GI Tract
- Don’t hang glass balls or pinecones in reach of your pet.
- Use garland, rather than tinsel, which can cause intestinal obstructions if ingested.
- Cover your tree stand so your pet can’t drink stagnant tree water.
Seasonal plants used as holiday decorations are also a source of problems:
- Holly berries are extremely toxic when ingested. Just a few berries will cause vomiting and diarrhea.
- Mistletoe causes digestive system upset as well as irregular heartbeats and possibly cardiac shock.
- Poinsettas can cause severe gastrointestinal distress.
- Hibiscus and lilies can cause digestive problems and even renal failure.
If you must have these plants in your holiday décor, choose artificial ones to protect your pets. And don’t forget to check gift floral arrangements for sprays of dangerous plants.
Ingesting holiday foods is one of the biggest reason for visits to the emergency vet clinic during the holiday season. Warn family members and guests not to feed the following to your pets:
- Rich, fatty foods can cause stomach upset, or even predispose pets to life-threatening pancreatitis or bloat.
- Poultry bones can splinter and get stuck in a pet’s mouth, obstruct his throat, or perforate his intestines.
- Chocolate, macadamia nuts, raisins, coffee and alcoholic beverages can be fatal if ingested in quantity.
Keep a supply of your pets’ favorite treats handy to offer when family and friends are enjoying all those delicious smelling holiday goodies.
The list of holiday hazards is long, but includes:
- Small toy pieces, wrapping paper, ribbon, and tape – all of which can cause problems in ingested.
- Lighted candles -- be sure they are securely anchored so they won’t be dislodged by the swat of a paw or tail.
- Liquid potpourris, fireplace salts, Styrofoam, and angel hair can be toxic if swallowed and cause skin or eye irritation and intestinal obstructions.
If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, seek medical attention immediately.
Finally, remember that with holiday guests coming and going, the front door will be open more than usual. Be sure your pets are wearing collars with identification tags in case of an escape.