Vet Blog

A Hearty Cheers to Pet Safety During the Holidays

December 10, 2020

The holiday season is fast approaching, and it should be about festivities, fun, and food (a lot of it), but there is something more to consider.

When it comes to pets, your veterinary team sees far too many veterinary emergencies around this time of year.

Pet safety during the holidays is a must for our pet families and will definitely ensure a much more holly-jolly season when our pets are the priority. Highway Veterinary Hospital takes a closer look at some of these dangers, so you can avoid them and go on with the merriment.

The Tree and Its Trimming

As we all know, cats are particularly curious about the holiday tree. You may have done everything to ensure that it cannot be toppled over, but did you know there are many things that are a part of the trim and the tree itself that you should be aware of?

The tree itself is only one of the areas of concern when it comes to pet safety. Be aware of the following tree-related dangers:

  • Strings of lights if your pet is known to chew on cords
  • Fake icicles (these are hazardous when ingested)
  • Edible ornaments
  • Presents with unknown contents (to avoid things your pet might want to eat, like chocolate)
  • Curling ribbon (a hazard, especially when it comes to cars)
  • Small decorations that can be easily swallowed
  • Tree water (preservatives are toxic)
  • Popcorn garlands (the string can become an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract)

Remember that if you don't know what is under the tree, stow it away to avoid a poisoning emergency.

The Feast

Christmas and other holidays are times for feasting on your favorite seasonal foods. These popular holiday foods are tempting to your pet as well. Unfortunately, food poisoning vet emergencies can and do occur, so be extra cautious with the following items that are toxic to pets:

  • Xylitol (sugar substitute in sugar-free items)
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Yeast dough
  • Onions and garlic
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Macadamia and other nuts

Keep in mind that there are several fatty and fried foods that cause gastrointestinal upset and possible pancreatitis. Don't give pets scraps, bones, or rich foods like gravy or cheesy dishes.

Holiday Plants and Decor

Another toxicity issue this time of year is poisonous plants. There are many toxic plants, which can be referenced on the ASPCA's site, but holly and mistletoe are highly toxic. Lilies of all varieties cause kidney failure in cats, so make sure to do your research before bringing home bouquets and other plant displays.

Lit candles are also problematic for pets because they knock them over or burn their whiskers, face, etc. on the flame. Opt for battery-powered lights for ambiance.

Holiday Pet Safety Wrap-Up

Most of us want to include our pets in the holiday cheer and that's great. Just be careful to avoid the above-listed pet dangers and always supervise your pet during a gathering. Sometimes it is best to find a quiet, secure place in the home where your pet can hang out when people arrive and depart, as well as during dinner.

If you would like more tips on holiday pet safety or would like to schedule an appointment, please call our team. Happy Holidays!

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