Holiday Dangers for Pets

The holidays can bring special dangers to many pets. Enjoy the holidays by celebrating responsibly!

1. Decorations - tinsel is a choking hazard and can cause bowel obstruction and perforation. It can also get wrapped around body parts, cutting off circulation. Glass ornaments can break, which can lacerate feet or cause intestinal bleeding if eaten. Electric cords can be chewed, leading to shock or electrocution. Put a fence around the Christmas tree so pets cannot reach the tree or put the tree in a room that is not accessible to pets. Don't use tinsel; use plastic ornaments. Make sure all cords are secured. Apply bitter tasting sprays to cords.

2. Candles - Burning hazard for pets and possibility of a house fire if knocked over by a pet. Keep all candles in areas where they are not accessible to pets.

3. Baking - chocolate, particularly dark chocolate used for baking, contains theobromine. Theobromine causes vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias, and seizures. Toxic to dogs, cats, and birds. Bread dough with yeast can result in bloating and alcohol toxicity due to fermentation in the stomach. Low blood sugar, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and death may result. Put away all baking products where pets cannot reach them. Never leave rising dough in an area accessible to pets. Macadamia nuts are toxic and can cause vomiting, lethargy, and hyperthermia. Raisins can cause kidney failure.

4. Package wrappings - Cats, in particular, are attracted to ribbons and strings. Some dogs will also find these to be great items for chewing. Be careful when wrapping packages if you have pets that find these irresistible. I put ribbons on packages right before I walk out of the house to deliver them to someone else. No ribbons in my home because they can cause bowel obstruction and perforation.

5. Parties and crowds - Many pets are nervous or anxious when guests arrive. They may be prone to snapping or acting out when too many strangers are in their environment. If you are having a large gathering and your pet may find this stressful, consider allowing your pet to stay with a friend or possibly boarding your pet for the day or night. A scared pet may bolt out a door that opens and closes as guests arrive and depart. Be sure your pets are microchipped and tagged with identification.

6. Holiday feasts - Sharing table food with your pets isn't always bad, but overindulgence can be disastrous. Trimmings and gravies that are high in fat can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis, which can be fatal.

7. Decorative plants - Poinsettia, holly, mistletoe, and pine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal irritation. Use artificial plants or place them out of reach.

8. Traveling with pets – Make sure pets are secured in the car in crates, seatbelts, or other pet restraints. Pets can become a projectile in an accident, injuring themselves and others in the vehicle. Also, make sure pets have ID tags and/or a microchip. In case of accidental escape (at rest stops, in an accident, etc) the ID will be the only chance of recovering the lost pet.
Follow these helpful tips to have the happiest holidays ever with your pets!