10 Safety Tips for Your Pets During the Holidays

Whether the family is getting a new pet for Christmas or you are planning on serious snuggle time with your furry best friend over the holidays, you may want to consider how to keep your pet safe. Every year at Christmas pet injuries and fatalities skyrocket. With all the fun decorations and plethora of tempting treats, you may have to take some preventative measures to make sure your pet doesn’t end up at the vet. Start with these 10 simple steps suggested by PetMD and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to help fido stay out of trouble.
  1. Holiday greenery can be potentially poisonous to your pets. Keep mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias up high and out of your furry friends’ grasp.
  2. With all the lights and extra Christmas decorations that need to be plugged in, there is a higher chance your pet can get electrocuted accidently. Tape your any indoor or outdoor chords to the wall or side of the house to keep your pet safe. Be sure to use tape that is strong enough to withstand the weather or any tails wagging. When you leave the house, unplug all decorations if possible. Cats, dogs, rabbits and other pets like chewing chords and may be more tempted to try when you aren’t around.
  3. Christmas candles and popouries are popular this time of year. Unfortunately, they pose an extra hazard to pets that might inadvertently knock them off a low table and onto themselves or the floor. Make sure when you light a candle or have an open container of potpourri (heated or not) that you place it on a high shelf, mantel, or wherever it is sure to be out of the reach of your four legged friends. Liquid and solid potpourris contain essential oils and cationic detergents that can cause severe problems if eaten and will hurt your pet’s mouth, eyes, and skin.
  4. For those who get a fresh tree every year, clean up the fallen tree needles frequently. Although they are not poisonous to dogs, they are hazardous if ingested as they can puncture the lining of your pet’s intestines.
  5. Christmas tree ornaments, tinsel, and other decorations are dangerous. Pets are especially attracted to them because they are shiny and interesting, but if they pull them off the tree and ingest them, they can cause choking or serious internal blockages. Many decorations are made of toxic materials that can make your pets really sick. Take extra caution that your decorations are well secured (not just hooked on a branch) and that they are not low enough on the tree that pets can easily get to them. Be sure to quickly pick up any broken pieces off the floor before pets have a chance to get to them. Avoid food-related decorations like popcorn and cranberries stings or ornaments made of salt-water dough.
  6. Many pets like to drink the water at the base of a real Christmas tree. Avoid adding aspirin, sugar, or other additives to the water if you have pets in the house. Your pets could get really sick and even incur permanent damage if they ingest water with additives.
  7. Low hanging Christmas tree lights can choke your pets if they get entangled in the tree. When decorating your tree, be sure to stop wrapping the lights a foot or two above the lowest hanging branches.
  8. Chocolates are everywhere this time of year, but are highly toxic to dogs, cats and most other animals. Be extra cautious and put your chocolates in a locked cupboard or in the back of the fridge.
  9. Baked goods, candy, and chewing gum have been linked to liver failure and death in dogs. Keep your stash of sweets hidden and put away where your pets aren’t tempted to get to them. Be cautious of putting sweets in containers, bags, backpacks, and purses, even temporarily. Animals are smart and can find a way into a bag or container if left out in the open.
  10. Table scraps and rich holiday foods can cause digestion issues and pancreatitis. Yes, this includes gravy and meat scraps. Your pet may beg for a taste of the holiday ham, but looking out for its long term health is the best gift you can give it. A healthy pet is a happy one!