The holiday season is upon us! That infamous time of year when everyone floods the malls, cooks a ridiculous amount and pulls out all the decorations. This is an amazing and exciting time of year, albeit a tad stressful. During all of the excitement, it's important to remember that many hazards are introduced to our pets this time of year. To help you and your pet make the most of this holiday season, we've compiled a few safety tips.
1. Seasonal Plants
Oh, Christmas Tree- These festive trees can be quite intriguing to our pets. Make sure your Christmas tree is securely anchored so it won't fall and cause injury. Also keep in mind that tree water is very dangerous to pets. The many additives are toxic and stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria.
Holly & Mistletoe- Keep Mistletoe and Holly out of your pet's reach. These traditional holiday plants can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and cardiovascular issues.
Lights & Wires- Do your best to keep wires, bulbs and candles out of your pet's reach. Pet's can easily burn or electrocute themselves. Batteries can also cause burns to the mouth and esophagus if punctured or ingested. Always keep them safely stored away.
Tinsel- Tinsel, while beautiful, is almost irresistible to our feline friends. This shiny decorations are just as eye-catching to cats as they are to us. Cats can easily ingest them causing vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery to remove the foreign body.
Ornaments- Shiny orbs and cute home-made ornaments (especially those made from salted-dough) pose a risk to our four-legged friends. From intestinal blockages to toxicity, these beautiful decorations should be kept far away from our furry friends.
3. Festive Foods
Sweets & Chocolates- We've all heard by this point that chocolate and xylitol are toxic to our pets. Just keep in mind that pets will go to extreme lengths to get their paws on a tasty treat. Don't leave plates unattended and keep secure lids on trashcans.
Fatty Foods- Your pet has probably perfected that face that gets them small scraps and leftovers, but keep in mind that fatty and spicy foods can cause serious stomach upsets for our pets. To avoid costly vet bills, it's best to keep the turkey skin and leftovers out of their bowls.
Cocktails- From eggnog to champagne, many holiday celebrations include alcohol. Keep these drinks far out of your pet's reach and don't leave them unattended. Alcohol can cause your pet to become very ill, even causing comas and death due respiratory failure.
Be Choosy With Treats- If your pet made it onto the nice list this year and is expecting treats, keep them safe by choosing their presents carefully. Choose treats that aren't going to fracture their teeth. As our vets like to say, if it's too hard for your fingernail to indent, it's too hard for your pet's teeth. This means avoid the hooves, antlers, bully sticks, and hard marrow bones. If your pet loves squeaky toys make sure to take the squeaker away if the toy gets chewed open. Rawhides are fine with supervision, and Kongs with frozen treats or canned food make great treats that will keep your pet busy!
4. Guests & Gatherings
Guests- If you're expecting guests this holiday season make sure your guests know to keep exits shut to prevent your pet from running out. Or if your pet is nervous around strangers make sure your guests know to give your pet plenty of space.
Medications- Keep medications far out of reach from pets. Dogs have been known to chew through medication bottles, and many, many medications can cause serious health concerns for our furry friends. It's best to keep these things in cabinets or drawers where they are far away from interested noses.
A Quiet Place- Everyone needs a little down time during the holidays. Make sure your pet has a quiet place they can escape to if the celebrations or crowds become too much for them.
New Year's Celebrations- New Years brings many exciting things with it. But many of these things are bright or loud and can create stress for our pets. Be sure to keep confetti away from your pets who might try to ingest it. If fireworks cause your pet to become extremely anxious or scared, consider talking with your vet about what options might be available to help your pet.