Holiday Hazards: Keeping Your Pet Safe

Holiday Hazards: Keeping Your Pet Safe
By Danielle McIver,
Gleam Event Management host of The Ptbo PAWtacular

The holiday season is in full swing! Everywhere you look there is a beautifully decorated Christmas tree or a meticulously wrapped gift. We have family and friends dropping in to say hi, and piles of delicious savory and sweet treats. The joy is everywhere! But lets not forget that the holiday traditions we are used to, may have some unknown hazards for our furbabies.

Working 17 years in the veterinary industry has proven just how many risks this season can bring. So let’s keep those tails waggin’ and cats purrin’ and learn about some common dangers you can avoid!

Here are my top 5 hazards to be aware of in this festive season! Being aware means you care.

1. Tinsel: When decorating the tree this year, forgo the tinsel and put up a few more lights instead. Tinsel is extremely dangerous for cats when ingested. It can get tangled up in their intestine and stomach and cause an accordion effect. The only treatment is surgical intervention when this happens, which must be caught early for a successful outcome. Be careful with ribbon used to wrap your gifts or in other decor as well, as they have the same effect if swallowed.
2. Chocolate: Almost all human foods have the potential to cause GI upset in pets. But chocolate is outright toxic and should not be given to your pet, even in small doses. The theobromine in chocolate is a toxin and although our human bodies metabolize this quickly so it causes us no harm, dogs do not metabolize as fast and the toxic levels can build up causing adverse effects from mild and moderate to severe.
3. Holiday Plants: Mistletoe, holly, lilies, and poinsettias sure can brighten up those dark nights during the holiday! But these plants can also cause symptoms from mild GI upset with nausea and vomiting all the way up to kidney failure. The silk alternatives can be just as beautiful and way less dangerous!
4. Leftovers & Bones: Back on that food train! We all love the traditional turkey that the holidays bring, but those leftovers belong in your sandwiches and the bones belong in the garbage disposal, not your pet’s stomach. Not only can leftover turkey lead to pancreatitis, but the bones can get lodged in their throat, cause stomach perforations or painful constipation that may require surgical intervention. Not worth the 10 seconds it takes to indulge in that tasty treat!
5. Guests: No, I am not going to suggest you get out of hosting that Christmas party this year (especially if I am on your guest list!!), but as much as we love seeing friends and family to celebrate the holidays, keep in mind your pets might not. This can be a great source of stress for many pets. If your cat or dog does not enjoy strangers in their house, give them some help by adding stress relieving pheromones around the home, or giving them their own “quiet” room when company comes. They will appreciate a nice safe room to hide away until the commotion is done. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed!
These tips will allow you to enjoy them to the fullest without compromising your furbabies safety!! Remember, being aware means you care!
Happy Holidays WBN!