The end of December marks a time of year that many of us get to spend being with the most important people in our lives—including our pets. As full of mirth as holiday decorations and parties can be, these types of objects and events can present hazardous situations for our furred companions. We’ve put together a quick list of some of the most dangerous holiday situations for pets and how you can easily prevent unnecessary harm to your dog or cat.
Holiday Hazards To Watch Out For
Tinsel and Ribbons: Two of the most egregious holiday offenders are the dreaded tinsel and ribbons. We hate to give pet owners a hard “No,” so we thought we’d just get these out of the way first: there’s really no way around it—you’ve got to forego tinsel and ribbons if you have pets. Both cats and dogs may try to play with and consume these stringy objects, and ingestion can result in fatal “foreign body” gastrointestinal obstructions. These long pieces of string can easily get tied up, tangled, and caught in a pet’s digestive tract and cause major havoc until they are surgically removed. Trust us, it’s not worth it.
Lights and Electric Shock: Holiday lights can present a potential hazard to dogs and, especially, cats; if you have cats or a pet whom you know to chew on wires, you’ll want to put some effort into hanging these wires out of range of your cat or dog. It is always a good idea to turn these lights off at night. If your cat starts to chew on a live wire and gets through the protection, they may suffer from electric shock. One common symptom of shock is excessive drooling and general disorientation and impairment. If your pet begins presenting with such symptoms it is always a good idea to call your veterinarian, and, in the meantime, have someone check to make sure none of your wires have been chewed on.
Ornaments: This is of particular concern for cat owners. If you have a fragile ornament that might get batted off the tree, we recommend hanging it as high as possible to keep it out of reach. This won’t only protect your ornament but your cat as well: shattered ornaments can easily cause lacerations if your pet tries to ingest them.
Holiday Plants: Mistletoe, lilies, rosemary, and holly berries are all toxic when ingested by animals and can lead to toxicity poisoning. We suggest going with other safer plants (if you want a list of which common household plants are toxic, click HERE).
Christmas Tree: Christmas tree sap can actually be a serious gastrointestinal irritant for dogs and cats. Ingestion can occur either from the sap that collects on the needles of the tree, or from the water at the base of the tree which absorbs much of this sap over the course of a day. If you have a tree, you may want to consider keeping your pet out of the room that it is in. Tree water may also contain high levels of bacteria and fertilizers, both of which can cause gastrointestinal upsets.
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