Who doesn’t love the holiday season? We start off with Halloween where we get to spend one day a year dressing up in whatever we feel like without judgement. Then we go on to Thanksgiving which is an entire day dedicated to stuffing ourselves with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies, cranberries, sweet potatoes, biscuits and more. Which all leads up to the holiday of holidays, Christmas (or Hanukkah/Kwanza for some). Houses are decorated with lights, Santa, snowmen, raindeer and a Christmas tree filled with ornaments, lights and garland. This tree also acts as a home for the presents that we buy for our friends and family, wrapped in shiney paper and bows just waiting for the 25th to come so they can be opened and enjoyed by their recipients. The smell of baked goods fills most homes as they prepare special holiday treats that only get to be enjoyed at Christmas.
With all of the holiday spirit floating in the air, it’s hard to think about the dangers that such a wonderful time might pose to the furry members of our families. However, there are many ordinary holiday items that can pose a big threat to our pets and we need to be aware of them to avoid a trip to the Emergency Vet!
Below are ten tips that will keep everyone in the family safe and happy this holiday season!
1) Pick up any ornament hooks, tinsel or ribbon that may fall on the floor. Your pet can sustain serious injury by injecting any of these items or stepping on an ornament hook.
2) If your cat enjoys making the ornaments on your tree his personal play toys and bats at them, be sure to decorate the lower portion of your tree with non-breakable plastic or wooden ornaments. This way, if one falls there won’t be shards of glass on the ground that may be injested or stepped on.
3) I know it’s tempting, but avoid feeding your pet rich, fatty or spicy foods. One regular slice of American cheese for your dog is the caloric equivalent to an entire cheeseburger to us. If you would like to treat your pet to table scraps, give them some of the left over veggies. These make them feel full and provide no additional calories to their diet! You can also add a teaspoon of white meat or broth from the holiday dinner to give them an extra special treat.
4) While we’re on the topic of food, be sure to avoid giving your pets chocolate, onions, raisins and alcohol. These foods are extremely toxic to pets and ingesting them can be fatal.
5) Secure your Christmas to the wall or the ceiling with a sturdy fishing line. This will prevent your tree from fulling if your cat decides to climb it or your dog knocks into it while playing.
6) Poinsettias, mistletoe berries and other popular holiday plants can make your pet very sick. Cats are especially at risk because they love to nibble on plants. Be sure to keep them out of their reach.
7) Snow globes often contain anti-freeze in them which is poisonous to our pets. Be sure to keep them somewhere where they cannot be knocked over and broken.
8) Keep indoor lights out of your pets reach, especially puppies and cats! It’s tempting to your pet to play tug of war with the string of shiny lights but they can easily become tangled in it or suffer an electric shock from the light bulbs.
9) Keep the holiday candles away from areas where your dog’s happily wagging tail can knock them over or where your cat can bump into them while exploring all of the goodies on the counter or table!
10) It is controversial whether or not the combination or water and pine from live Christmas trees is poisonous to your pet if they drink it. However, just to be safe, keep the water stand covered if you have a live tree.
If your does ingest anything that may be poisonous to them, you can call the ASPCA Poison Control (http://www.aspca.org/Home/Pet-care/poison-control) line and they will assist you with what to do next. They’re available 24/7 365 days a year. There is a $65 consult fee that may be applied to your credit card. Also, be aware of where your nearest emergency vet is located just incase you need it.
Now that you know the pontial dangers you can go out and enjoy your holidays without worry. Happy HOwlidays Everyone!