Holiday Pet SafetyBelieve it or not, the Holidays are upon us. Just as we get into the hustle and bustle of the season, so do our furry friends. Our pets also get stressed in anticipation for the increased activity that’s going on around them. It’s easy to get out of our every day routines, but it’s really important to maintain some sense of normalcy and safety for our pets.

Here are some helpful hints to help you keep your pets safe and sound while you enjoy your holidays.

Keep pets away from holiday plants. While plants can add to our holiday spirit, some of them can be toxic to our pets, may cause severe health problems or maybe even death. Plants to be concerned about are: Mistletoe, Holly and most Lilies*. (*For a complete listing, check here.) Surprisingly, Poinsettias aren’t lethal, but they can cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting. In addition, if consumed, pine needles can actually puncture an animals’ intestine. So, keep plants and pine needles picked up and out of the way.

Don’t feed your pet leftover dinner bones!! Bones can be extremely dangerous to your pet. Poultry bones, in particular, can splinter easily and pose many hazards. Every year, thousands of pets are treated for ingesting bones of all types. This can be very painful and possibly even deadly. Be sure to keep your trash secured so our four-legged friends won’t go exploring and find something they shouldn’t.

Do not feed your pet human food. Fatty meats, rich gravies, poultry skin, bones, chocolate and alcohol, amongst others, can cause serious illnesses and toxic reactions in your pet. Vomiting and diarrhea are serious enough, but pancreatitis is an illness that needs prompt attention and may require hospitalization and special diets. Something else to remember is that candy wrappers and sticks, aluminum foil, ribbons and string can all pose a choking risk.

Holiday Pet SafetyDon’t add anything to your Christmas tree water. It’s natural! Animals see water…it must be drinkable…they must have it! Even if it’s under the tree!! Adding chemicals to the tree water may be very harmful to your pet. The best water to use is un-tree-ted water. It’s safe for your tree AND your pet!

Holiday decorating and presents can be dangerous.

  • Tinsel – Pets, cats in particular, are intrigued by tinsel and are very tempted to eat it. If you feel the need to use tinsel, secure it high on the tree and keep it out of reach of your pet.
  • Ornaments – Tree decorations can look like toys to your pet. Playing with these “toys” can lead to breakage, ingestion and life threatening emergencies. Broken shards from glass ornaments can injure body parts.
  • Cords & Plugs – Long electrical cords and plugs look like chew toys to pets. Be sure to tape them, hide or cover them to avoid serious injury. Unplug lights at night and when you are not at home.
  • Toys – Put away all toys and gifts and throw away wrapping paper and bows after opening presents. Small toys, plastic or cloth pieces are common causes of choking and intestinal blockages and most often be removed surgically.

Keep candles out of reach! Candles can bring a special ambiance to our holiday nights, but they can mean disaster if our pet is left unattended with the smallest of flames. Please keep candles high and out of reach or use battery operated candles. Also, be sure to use a fireplace screen to protect from burns.

Be smart when sending your pet outside. While it’s fine to leave your pets outside in mild weather conditions, it’s very important to practice good judgment when the weather is too cold (or too hot, for that matter.) In cold weather, let them outside to do their business and play a bit then bring them back inside. Letting pets into a heated garage or basement area to play is a good idea to keep them warm and keep you from worrying about frostbite.

Have an escape for your pet. Holiday guests and activities can be very stressful and even scary to our pets. Try to have a safe place in your house for your pet to “hang out” in. Also make sure that they are wearing an ID collar or have a microchip in case they happen to get out as guests come and go. Stress can also increase thirst because our pets pant more. Have plenty of water out to help alleviate that thirst.

Pet Poison HelplineKeep a regular schedule. Help reduce stress by keeping a normal feeding and exercise schedule. A regular schedule keeps pets and people stress free!

If you suspect that your pet has gotten into something toxic, call your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24 hour emergency hotline at 855-764-7661.