How to Keep Your Pets Safe Through the Holidays                                                        download_pdf2

The holiday season is one of the most magical and highly anticipated times of the year in most households. It’s a time of year
when the home is decked out in beautiful decorations, and filled with the scintillating aromas of delicious holiday foods.

But, as exciting and wonderful as Thanksgiving and Christmas can be, special consideration needs to be applied to the family pets during the holidays. With so many new smells and items inside the home to discover, this time of year can be especially dangerous to curious pets. This guide will provide the tips you need to help ensure your pets stay safe throughout the holidays.

Holiday Foods to Watch Out For

Food plays a major role in most family get-togethers over the holidays, especially on Thanksgiving. And, all too often, it’s not just the family that overindulges. The family dog also tends to get her fair share. The problem is, not all holiday foods are good for dogs to eat. Here’s a list of foods to keep away from your pet this holiday season:

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Alcohol
  • Gravies or leftover grease
  • Uncooked scraps (meat, fish, and poultry)
  • Bones (meat, fish, and poultry)
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Uncooked yeast dough
  • Anything containing artificial sweeteners, especially xylitol

After cooking, you should immediately wrap up any plastic, strings, or aluminum foil that came into contact with food, place them in the garbage, and take the garbage outside. Dogs have an incredibly keen sense of smell, and they will try to take these items out of the garbage if they aren’t taken out of the home. And should they ingest these items, it could present a wide array of problems.

Poisonous Holiday Plants That Are Dangerous for Pets

The poinsettia is a traditional holiday plant in many American households. But this popular plant contains a sap that can be highly toxic to dogs and cats. The irritating sap can cause extreme stomach upset and blisters in the mouth.

Other common holiday plants to avoid include mistletoe and holly (both the leaves and berries). Each of these can cause severe stomach problems and in some cases even prove fatal to dogs and cats. If you want to decorate your home with holiday plants, then make sure they are well out of reach of your pets or better yet, use artificial versions of the plants.

Dangerous Decorations and Wrappings

Ribbons, strings, yarns, and glittery silver “icicles” can prove irresistible to both dogs and cats. And, while it may be fun to watch your pet play, these items can be extremely dangerous. If these items get ingested, they can cause severe abdominal blockages, which often require surgery to remove. In some cases, the blockage can even prove fatal.

You should also keep any adhesives and glues away from your pet, as well as potpourri. These things contain ingredients that can be toxic to pets.

Candles are another dangerous decoration to keep well away from your pets. Lit candles can cause burns, or, your pet may knock the candle from its stance, causing a fire in the home.

Christmas Tree Warnings Concerning Pets in the Home

The Christmas tree, as beautiful as it is, is one of the more dangerous holiday items for your pets. The tree’s needles can prove highly toxic to pets, causing stomach and mouth irritation. Flocking and artificial snow can also produce stomach upset if ingested.

Then, there is the risk of your pets chewing on electrical cords or Christmas light strings. Spraying the cords with a product designed to deter chewing can help in this regard. Also, some lights burn so hot your pet may suffer mild burns should they come into contact with them, so try to use only low-heat LED lighting on your tree.

You should also avoid decorating your tree with real food items like candy canes or using glass ornaments. If you have delicate ornaments that you just can’t leave off the tree, be sure to place them high up on the tree to minimize the risk of them getting broken.

Lastly, dogs and cats will sometimes be attracted to the water in the tree stand, especially when tree preservatives are used because these contain sugars. The problem is, the standing water can harbor potentially harmful bacteria or pull some of the fertilizers, pesticides, or insecticides used on the tree into the water. You don’t want your pet drinking tree stand water!

Stay Safe, Relax, and Enjoy the Holidays With Your Pet

The holidays can be an overwhelming and hectic time for most families, and the family pet will often feel the stress too. Protect your pet from the above risks, try to relax (especially if you’re taking time off from work!), and be sure you spend some quality time with your pet this holiday season. That will be all your pet needs to enjoy the splendor of the holidays!

Author: Giano Panzarella