Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe this Holiday Season
The Twelve Dangers of Christmas
The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. To ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season for both your pets and your family, it’s crucial to take steps to prevent injuries and illness that may lead to unexpected veterinary visits.
Here are common culprits that cause veterinary emergencies during the holiday season:
1. Tinsel and Ribbons
The shiny, sparkly allure of tinsel and ribbons can be irresistible to pets, especially cats. Ingesting these decorations can lead to dangerous intestinal blockages that may require surgery to remove.
2. Holiday Bones
Bones from holiday feasts can splinter and cause choking hazards or severe internal injuries if ingested. Safely dispose of bones where pets can’t access them.
3. Toxic Plants
Plants like holly, mistletoe, and Christmas lilies are common during the holiday season, but they can be harmful or even lethal if ingested by pets. Keep these plants out of reach, or consider using pet-safe alternatives. Additionally, use a tree skirt to cover your Christmas tree stand to prevent access to water that may contain harmful preservatives.
4. Chocolate and Cocoa Products
Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate, the higher the concentration of these substances. Even small amounts can cause symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to more severe issues like seizures and cardiac issues.
5. Christmas Tree Decorations
Ornaments, especially fragile ones, can shatter if knocked off the tree, posing a choking hazard or causing injuries to pets if stepped on. Use pet-friendly ornaments made from non-breakable materials and place fragile ones high on the tree.
6. Electrical Cords and Lights
Curious pets may be tempted to chew on electrical cords, leading to shocks or burns. Secure cords out of your pet’s reach and consider using pet-proof covers or deterrent sprays.
7. Table Scraps and Fatty Foods
Rich, fatty foods like turkey skin, gravy, and other holiday delicacies can lead to digestive upset or more severe issues like pancreatitis. Avoid feeding your pets from the table and educate guests about the dangers of feeding them human food.
8. Open Flames
Candles add a warm glow to holiday decor, but they can be hazardous to pets. Place candles in secure holders and ensure they are out of your pet’s reach to prevent burns or fires.
9. Ice-Melting Products
Many ice-melting products contain chemicals that can be harmful to pets. Wipe your pet’s paws after walks and consider using pet-friendly alternatives or booties.
10. Stress and Anxiety
The holiday hustle and bustle, along with changes in routines, can cause stress and anxiety in pets. Provide a quiet, safe space where they can retreat when needed, and consider using calming products or consulting with your vet for additional support.
11. Alcohol and Holiday Beverages
Alcohol, eggnog, and other festive beverages can be harmful or even toxic to pets. Keep drinks out of their reach and ensure guests are aware of the dangers of offering alcohol to pets.
12. New Decorations and Toys
New toys or decorations may contain small parts that can be choking hazards if ingested. Keep a close eye on your pets when introducing new items and choose toys and decorations that are suitable for your pet’s size and play style.
By being aware of the twelve dangers of Christmas and taking appropriate precautions, you can ensure a safe and joyful holiday season for both your family and your beloved pets. With a little extra care and attention, you can celebrate the holidays together in a way that keeps everyone healthy, happy, and full of holiday spirit.