Between the pudding on the stove and the cookies in the oven, the last thing on your mind during the hustle and bustle of the holidays is your pet. So, while you’re busy prepping a feast, Fluffy the cat is nibbling on your tree ornaments. And when you open the door to welcome your cousin Emily inside, Ruby the dog sees an opportunity to chase the squirrel across the street.
From tinsel to wrapping paper to new plastic toys, our homes are chock-full of dangerous and deadly hazards for our pets. Protect your four-legged friend and be considerate of their needs so they can enjoy the holidays, too!
It’s tempting to include your pet in the holiday festivities, but remember that human food can be deadly for pets, especially the rich, fatty food we indulge in this time of year. Don’t even give your dog a bone! Real bones can splinter easily, causing damage to your pet’s throat and intestine. Other dangerous foods include: alcoholic beverages, chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, nuts, onions and salt. To be safe, please don’t give your pet any human food!
If you have small children, pay special attention to their toys after they open gifts. While it's fun over the holidays to spread their new toys around the room, make sure the toys are cleaned up and off the floor when your pet is around. Small plastic pieces look like chew toys to dogs, and are common causes of choking and intestinal blockage. Dogs also can’t resist shiny ribbons, bows and plastic wrap, so keep them off of the floor! After the presents are opened, dispose of everything that could be easily swallowed by curious pets.
If you celebrate Christmas, make sure your tree isn’t a safety hazard to your pet. Secure your tree to the wall to avoid it being knocked over by your pet. Also, don’t let your pet drink the tree water – it may contain fertilizer or bacteria! Also, remember to keep ornaments off of lower tree branches, especially ornaments with food (like that pretzel piece your son brought home from second grade). If you have a cat, remove the tinsel from the bottom of the tree! Cats love the shiny toy and think it’s special catnip.
Many common holiday plants can be deadly to your pets if they ingest them. Keep the following plants out of reach, or out of the house: poinsettias, amaryllis, mistletoe and holly.
The excitement of the holidays can be downright terrifying for pets. They don’t understand why there’s extra food, extra noise and extra people in your house. Make sure your pet has a safe place to retreat in your house, and that they’re wearing their current I.D. in case they escape. Tear yourself away from the festivities, and give your pet some special attention. If you have a dog, take him or her on a nice walk and always make sure there’s plenty of water available. Dogs typically pant more when they feel stressed!