Pet Holiday Safety

The holidays should always be a joyous occasion. Families gather to eat, drink and be merry. Unfortunately, during this time it’s all too easy to let your pets’ routines fall by the wayside, not to mention all the toxic treats that are sure to be in abundance this time of year.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) provides a list of holiday dangers and toxins to make sure your pets avoid for a happy, healthy holiday.

The ASPCA’s Holiday Pet Safety Guide

  • Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall. This will also prevent the tree water – which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset – from spilling.
  • Avoid mistletoe and holly. Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Opt for artificial plants made from silk or plastic.
  • Don’t decorate with tinsel. Cats love tinsel and its sparkly, light-catching characteristics. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery.
  • Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may harm themselves or start a fire if they knock candles over. Use appropriate candle holders and, if you leave a room, blow out the candle.
  • Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. Wires can deliver potentially lethal shocks and batteries can cause burns to the mouth and throat. Shards of glass and ornaments can damage the mouth and digestive tract.
  • Make sure your pet stays away from the table and unattended plates of food; also, be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
  • Don’t feed leftovers to your pet. Fatty, spicy foods can lead to costly vet bills.
  • If your celebration includes holiday beverages and cocktails, be sure to place unattended alcoholic drinks where pets can’t get them. If ingested, your pet could become weak or even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
  • When stuffing your pet’s stocking, stick with basically indestructible chew toys for dogs. Risky cat toys involve ribbon, yarn and loose parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Pick a large ball or catnip toy for kitty.

Follow these safety guidelines and your holiday is sure to be a success. And your pets will thank you! Always remember to contact your veterinarian if you think your animal has ingested something toxic. Happy holidays!