Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Holidays are exciting and fun, but they can be dangerous times for our pets.  We’ve had a couple of PetsOnTime visitors ask us to publish a list of pet safety tips for the holidays. Sheesh, after researching and compiling this list, I can’t wait for the holidays to be over! Adding to your stress for the season, here’s a quick listing of some of the most hazardous.

Falling Christmas trees. Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. One suggestion is to anchor Christmas trees to the ceiling with a string to keep it from falling on your pets.

Sharp pine needles. When ingested, pine needles can puncture holes in a pet’s intestine. So keep pet areas clear of pine needles.

Poisonous Christmas tree water. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and some may contain fertilizers. Very important: do not put aspirin in the water (some folks do this thinking it will keep the tree or plant more vigorous). If a pet ingests the aspirin-laced water, his health or even life can be at risk.

Inedible mistletoe & holly & lilies. Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats if ingested.

Animal Poison Control Center. If you suspect that your pet has eaten something toxic, call your vet and/or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour emergency hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

Terrible tinsel. Cats love this sparkly, light-catching prey that’s easy to carry in their mouths. But swallowing can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery.

Sickening holiday food. This is a time of year when lots of food might be left out, like chocolate candy and other candy in wrappers. Make sure to keep your pets away from food not intended for them, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans. There are many holiday foods, including fatty meats, gravies, poultry skin, bones, chocolate and alcohol, that can cause illnesses ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to pancreatitis and other toxic reactions. Here’s a list of some of the most dangerous foods for pets:

  • Avocado
  • Chocolate (all forms)
  • Coffee (all forms)
  • Fatty foods
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions, onion powder
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough
  • Garlic
  • Products sweetened with xylitol, like gum

Creepy cocktails. If your celebrations include adult beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

Perilous packages. Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery.

Candle fires. Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!

Shocking risks. Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.

Alarming detectors. Be sure to double-check smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and other safety devices and replace batteries. Safety, of course, is the key reason — but here’s another good reason. When batteries run low, the devices often emit alert or alarm sounds at frequencies that can be painful and frightening to many pets. If you’re not home when the alert/alarm sounds, your animals will have to endure that sound until you return, which can be traumatic. So always keep fresh batteries in those devices.

Unsafe guests. If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session. Do not let guests feed your pets human food.

Menacing medicines. Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.

Nasty New Year’s noise. You might be celebrating with poppers and pots and pans, but noises can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.

Create a safety zone

Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Hey, you might want to join them before the holidays are over!

Posted in Pet Care Tales | Tags: ,
Holiday Pet Safety Tips
This post has 1 comment.
  1. Robin Wilson says:

    Thanks for these great tips!
    If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call ASPCS Poison Control (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card.
    Some other holiday plants to beware of are Amarylis bulbs and Poinsettias. These are not deadly, as rumor would have it, but will make your pet sick if eaten. As will marijuana. Daffodils, narcissus and paper whites fall in the same category as lilies and can make dogs very sick and be fatal to cats.
    Sago Palms and seed pods are fatal to dogs. Be aware that some wild mushrooms can fatal. Castor beans and Dieffenbachia are very dangerous, too.

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