Holiday Safety and Your Pets

The festive season is in full swing, and we love sharing the season with family and friends – including our pets. In order to make sure that all of your 2014 holiday memories are happy ones, here are some pet safety tips to keep in mind.

O Christmas Tree

The focal point of most homes over the holidays is, of course, a Christmas tree.  Unfortunately, it is also a focal point for pets, who find the branches and decorations tantalizing.

  • If possible, put your Christmas tree in a place you can keep your pets out of when no one is around to supervise. This one measure can ensure that everyone has a safe and happy season without any emergency trips to the veterinarian.
  • Remember that decorations make the tree look like a toy store to many pets. They love to play with shiny things, and many decorations can be choking hazards, or cause severe issues if swallowed.
  • It’s also a buffet with popcorn and cranberry garlands, and some pets, particularly cats, love to eat tinsel. Keep these things away from your pets because they can cause stomach upset – or worse, a condition called “intussusception” where intestines gather up like an accordion and needs major surgery to fix.
  • If you have a live tree, don’t put life-extending additives in the water as they can cause severe stomach problems if your pet drinks the water. Pick up fallen needles since pets might scarf them up, one again causing stomach upset, or worse, intestinal blockage.
  • Remember that cats love to climb Christmas trees, and dogs can have a wicked tail-wag, so be sure to secure your tree to a wall or ceiling to avoid calamity.
  • Keep electrical cords secure and out of reach. If a pet chews an electrical cord, it can lead to burns, shocks, or even death.
  • If there are any gifts under your tree that smell good – from candy for your two-legged family members, to treats, chews, toys and catnip for your four-legged pals – remember that your pets will find them through any packaging. Swallowing ribbon or paper, or chocolate and other toxins can all lead to huge health catastrophes.
Other Live Christmas Plants

Many plants we love to decorate our homes with are toxic to pets. These include:

  • Poinsettias
  • Christmas cactus
  • Mistletoe

Be sure to place plants well out of the reach of your pets, as these can cause issues ranging from stomach upset to vomiting to respiratory distress and even heart failure.

Christmas Goodies

Resist the temptation to share goodies meant for people with your pets. Keep in mind:

  • Chocolate and raisins are both toxic to cats and dogs.
  • Turkey, gravy, and other festive foods can lead to pancreatitis.
  • Alcoholic beverages can cause serious problems for all pets, but especially small dogs and cats.
  • Bones can cause severe intestinal damage.

So keep lots of pet-friendly treats on hand for sharing holiday cheer.

A Quick Note on Flames

Christmas is also a time for flames – from candles to roaring fireplaces. Always monitor your pets around open flame, since something as simple as an innocent misplaced tail can spell disaster for your pets, or your home and the rest of your family.

Happy Pets, Happy Holidays

When it comes to the holidays, we love to include our pets. These simple precautions can go a long way to keeping everyone safe and happy this holiday season!