December marks the beginning of the holiday season which everybody welcomes after a busy year and, for those of us who are staying home, also means a time of parties, rich foods, streams of visitors, relatives from out of town, Christmas decorations, pointsettias, shopping trips, present wrapping and general festivities. With all the excitement, all too often the last thing that is on anyone’s mind is the safety of their pets.
We want the holidays to be a happy time for you and your pets, not a time for an emergency visit to your veterinarian. The food and decorations that make the festive season so much fun for us can be extremely dangerous for your pet. Whilst we don’t want to ruin the holiday spirit, we do want you to be aware of the potential dangers and plan carefully to avoid these potential hazards. This is the first of a 4 part series. Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday!
Decorations and Wrappings
- All that glitters is not gold. Whilst it is pretty to look at, for a quizzy dog or cat, especially puppies and kittens glittery decorations attract their attention and could potentially be dangerous for your pet. Tinsel, glitter balls (often made of glass) etc … should all be placed well out of reach.
- If you use ribbons, yarn and string when wrapping gifts, keep in mind that it can cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed and can sometimes require surgery or be fatal. Ribbons around your dog or cat’s neck may be cute, but are never a good idea as they too can be dangerous, especially if the ribbon gets caught on something or your pet decides to chew on the loose ends.
- Adhesives and glues are often toxic and can be attractive to pets, so please don’t leave them lying around.
- Potpourri contains oils that can be toxic to dogs if eaten. Whilst we may enjoy the smell and not think of eating it, a quizzy pet may think differently and decide to sample it.
- Candles can cause burns and fires. Never leave lit candles unattended or within nose reach or tail reach of your pet. Our Pit Bull Bruno has an overactive “happy” tail, so we’re always careful of not to leave glasses and candles on the edge of coffee tables that can get easily ‘swished’ off by a wagging tail. We also have 3 hyperactive kittens in the house that sometimes skid onto tables.
- Few things are more tempting to a playful dog (or cat) than a game of tug-of-war. The dangling ends of a table cloth may look very tempting to your pooch. Try to keep items such as tablecloths and table runners from hanging too low to the floor as the temptation may be too great for a happy dog to grab, or for an excitable kitty to claw.
- We all like making our homes more festive and decorative for the holidays. We enjoy the green foliage and colorful flowers of plants, however many of the plants we have in our homes during the holidays can be poisonous to pets. Poisonous plants, such as holly (leaves and berries), if ingested will cause stomach upset and can be potentially fatal to both dogs and cats. Mistletoe causes stomach upsets and can cause heart collapse, while hibiscus may cause diarrhea. Poinsettias have an irritating sap that can cause blistering in the mouth and stomach upset. Place these plants well out of your dog or cat’s reach or alternatively use the various and often very pretty imitation holiday plants.
With all of the festivities, do not forget to relax and spend some quality time with your pet. Your dog will think that is the best gift of all. We would like to wish everyone a peaceful and happy time over the festive season.
“Pet Safety At Home Over The Holiday Period Part 2 - The Christmas Tree” follows tomorrow.