The holidays mean a lot of change and strange things in the eyes of our furry friends. Something that’s usually outside comes inside (Christmas trees), there are shiny things everywhere (decorations), and something smells yummy, but they can’t have it (name your favorite holiday treat). As you’re partaking in all of the cheer and festivity, keep these 10 holiday hazards to protect your furry friend.
Unsecured Christmas trees
Christmas trees are beautiful — and not just to us humans! Our pets may also be intrigued by this strange seasonal appearance. Make sure your Christmas tree is secured and weighed down so that curious cats and dogs can’t knock it over easily. Always supervise your pet when she’s around the tree. And if you happen to have a real tree, prevent pets from drinking the water — the bacteria and tree food it contains can cause severe gastrointestinal problems.
Speaking of Christmas trees, your beloved ornaments might look like perfect, bite-size snacks to sneaky cats and dogs. To help ward off an ornament ingestion emergency, place ornaments high up on the tree, way above where pets can reach, and tie them tightly.
Now’s the time of year when we have light strings and extension cords hanging throughout our homes that aren’t typically in our — or our pets’ — environment. Take care to tie back or tape down all loose cords so that pets can’t chew or get tangled up in them.
Just like electric cords, tempting decor is probably popping up throughout your home this holiday season. Make sure you move any surface decorations that pose a choking hazard out of reach, including dreidels, nativity scene pieces, tinsel, and ribbon. If you typically decorate your home with potpourri, be very careful never to let your pet get near it — liquid and dried potpourris can be toxic.
You may already know to keep your cats and dogs away from poinsettias, which can cause stomach irritation if eaten. Add holly, lilies, and mistletoe to that list of toxic plants — they can all cause severe damage and should be inaccessible to pets.
Check with your veterinarian to find out which holiday delicacies you can share with your cat or dog. Some pets may be OK to enjoy a small bite of turkey once in a while, but don’t go overboard with the table scraps. Consuming a lot of fat can cause gastrointestinal irritation or even pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
If you’re like us, you’d probably agree that so many holiday memories are made in the kitchen. But there’s a whole slew of foods we love that can poison our pets: chocolate, alcohol, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, coffee, and more. And bakers, beware: Uncooked dough with yeast will still rise if ingested, which can result in a trip to the emergency vet.
Whether you’re baking ham, turkey, or another variety of meat for your holiday dinner, never give your pet the bones. They can break teeth and cause mouth injuries, intestinal damage, or obstruction.
This one is tricky because it’s not your typical festive holiday hazard. But cats and dogs who have access to the garage may come into contact with antifreeze during the winter months. Many antifreeze formulas contain chemicals that are highly toxic to animals if swallowed, which can happen if your pet is attracted to the sweet smell of the chemical or if she steps in it and then licks her paws. Always keep antifreeze and other chemicals far out of your pet’s reach.
This goes for any time of year, but our warning is especially important during the colder months: Keep open flames inaccessible to animals. Be vigilant and do everything you can to prevent accidents involving candles, menorahs, or fireplaces.
Questions or concerns about keeping your pet safe and content this holiday season? Contact us.