It is important to be aware of the some of the seasonal hazards that can pose dangers for your pet.
There is so much going on during this season and these things impact different pets in different ways. Some are not bothered by much of anything while others become stressed or expose themselves to dangers.
One of the best things you can do to help minimize stress in your pets is to preserve your dog and cats’ normal schedule as much as possible. Keep the exercise and feeding schedules the same if you can. The other critical thing to do is to prevent access to holiday decorations, plants, presents, candles, and foods.
- Christmas Trees. Christmas trees and decorations are beautiful, but can pose a danger to your pets. Cats may attempt to climb and scratch the trunk which can cause a tree to fall and not only hurt your cat, but damage the surrounding area! Be sure your tree is secure by using a stable stand or by tying the top or sides of the tree to a hook in the ceiling or an adjacent wall.
- Ornaments. Ornaments can look like playful toys and, when ingested, can cause an obstruction in the stomach or intestines which may require surgical removal. If glass ornaments are chewed, dogs and cats can sustain lacerations in their mouth and tongue. Consider durable plastic ornaments and place them higher on the tree out of the reach of your pet.
- Ribbon and Tinsel. Cats love the feel of chewing tinsel and ribbons which, if ingested, can cause an intestinal blockage and become a surgical emergency. If you have a curious cat or a mischievous dog that are likely to eat ribbons, ornaments, or tinsel, try to avoid decorating with these items. If you suspect that your dog or cat may have eaten a foreign object, visit your veterinarian for an examination and possible x-rays.
- Electrical Cords. A pet that chews on electrical cords can sustain injuries such as electrical shock and oral burns. If your pet seems interested in chewing holiday electrical cords, take precautions to limit your pet’s exposure to them, or use electrical cord covers or organizers to keep the wires out of sight.
- Stress. Holidays and family gatherings can be stressful for pets-especially cats. Some cats may be very social and love to greet your holiday guests, however, most cats tend to be shy, and need to have their own space to feel safe. To avoid unneeded stress, please restrict your cat to a room that is relatively quiet with access to hiding places and a litter box until the guests are gone.
- Table Food. Holiday gatherings can expose your pets to rich and fatty foods. Ingestion of these foods can lead to intestinal upset and inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). If you have a pet that is likely to get into holiday foods, you may want to play it safe by keeping a close watch or confining him or her to a small room or crate.
- Candles. Many families decorate with candles during the holiday season, however pets can knock them over and cause a potential house fire. Consider safe and secure candle holders or battery-operated lights that flicker and mimic real candles to protect your pet. Do not leave pets alone with unattended open flames.
- Doors. As the company comes and goes, they may create an escape hazard for your pet…. Be very careful around doors or consider placing your pet in a quiet room where they can’t escape as guests arrive and depart.
- Plants. Holiday plants such as Poinsettias and mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting and/or diarrhea when ingested. Please keep these plants out of the reach of your pet. Also, please remember many of the lilies are toxic.
We hope these suggestions help to keep your pet safe this holiday season.