Tis the season to be joyful, giving, and watchful! We love celebrating the holidays in all of their glory: Christmas lights, baking, decorations, and festive fun. Sometimes we get so caught up in the moments and we may forget to consider whether it’s safe for our pets! Here is a quick list of a few things to keep in mind this holiday season.
- The Christmas Tree: Beautiful as it is, it can also pose some dangers for our furry family members. Once the tree is all decorated and shining bright, it becomes quite the fascinating attraction to our feline friends. Make sure to securely fasten your tree to the floor or a wall so that your curious cat doesn’t tip it over and get hurt should they decide to take a climb.
- Take care in the ornaments and decorations you choose to display and where: Some may pose as a choking hazard, so if you have decor with intricate small pieces, try to place them out of reach of curious mouths. Tinsel can be a danger as well; the fun and texture makes it especially appealing for pets to ingest which can cause serious stomach upset or blockage.
- Christmas lights: “The brighter the better!” If you are using Christmas lights inside, and those that light up your tree, make sure the cords are safely out of reach so as to avoid any dangers of electrocution to chewers. It is also important to not leave lights plugged in while you are not home to avoid fire hazards.
- Candles: Candles are also popular this time of year for festive scents and a welcoming and warm ambiance. Only have your candles lit while they are supervised, again, to avoid fire hazard if tipped over or at the risk of causing injury to any curious pets.
- People foods and sweet treats: As we discussed in an earlier article, chocolates and other candies can make our pets very sick so make sure any goodies are packaged away safely. Grapes, currants, onions, and macadamia nuts can all cause serious health risks if ingested. For more information on what foods to avoid and signs to watch for, check out this article, Common Household Items Toxic to Pets.
- Unwrapping gifts: As much fun as it would be to let our pets unwrap their own gifts, share the moment and unwrap any presents for them. We don’t want to end the festivities with a bowel obstruction and an emergency trip to the vet from consuming any wrapping paper.
- The classic Christmas plants: Pine trees (needles), Poinsettias, Holly, and Mistletoe, all present certain health risks for our pets, causing symptoms ranging in severity from excess salivation and mild stomach upset to vomiting, lethargy, and labored breathing.
- The hustle and bustle: Remember that some of our furry friends are extra sensitive to the excess excitement of the holidays. Make sure to offer a safe, familiar, and isolated space for them to be if the events get to be too much for them. New Year’s often comes with the concern of loud noises, much like the 4th of July. For more information on options for keeping your pet comfortable and safe, refer to our 4th of July article.
Our pets love to see us happy and celebrating, so remember to keep them, and their feelings, included. Be safe and happy holidays!
Written by: Harriet Burquist