November has arrived!! That means that the holidays are just around the corner. It’s a busy time of year with holiday baking, shopping, and gatherings with family and friends. Maintaining our normal schedule is almost impossible. We get so busy that we may not be as attentive as usual to our furry family members. But when those soulful eyes catch ours, we’re reminded that this is the time of year that we need to take extra precautions to keep them safe from Holiday Hazards.
HOLIDAY FOODS – Entertaining for the Holidays usually means that there is an abundance of food and goodies to be enjoyed by all. But even small amounts of these foods can be disastrous for your pets. Chocolate, onions, kale, grapes, and raisins are among the food items that are toxic to pets. Bones, especially from a turkey or chicken, can splinter and can cause damage to your pets’ digestive system. Fatty meats, gravies, poultry skin and alcohol can cause illness accompanied with vomiting, diarrhea, or severe pancreatitis.
HOLIDAY DECORATIONS – Christmas trees come with a number of potential problems. Whether real or artificial, trees falling on a curious pet can cause serious injuries. If the pet is lucky enough to come out unscathed, it can create quite a mess for you to clean up. But falling trees aren’t the only problem. Pine needles, if ingested, can puncture holes in the pets’ intestines. Treated water in real tree stands may contain antifreeze, or other toxic chemicals that can prove lethal. Do not use aspirin to treat the water. Even untreated water that sits stagnant can harbor harmful bacteria. Artificial snow sprayed on trees can also be toxic. Fragile ornaments can shatter and cause damage to the pet’s mouth or paws. Tinsel, garland, and tree lights might also be inviting to pets that may view them as toys. If ingested, these items can cause intestinal blockage or puncture the digestive system. You might want to consider finding a way to keep the pets that just can’t resist the Christmas tree and its decorations, separated with the use of gates or other deterrents. Additionally, decorative snow globes often contain antifreeze, which is poisonous to pets.
CANDLES – Candles should be kept out of the way of pets at all times. A wagging tail, a curious nose, or an excited pet running past a lit candle could cause it to tip over starting a fire.
HOLDIAY PLANTS – If ingested holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies can be poisonous. If you decorate with live plants, keep them out of your pet’s reach.
HOLIDAY GUESTS – With all of the holiday festivities and preparations, we can get stressed, and so can our pets. In the turmoil, we can lose tract of our pets’ whereabouts. It is important to take extra precautions during this busy time of year as guests arrive and depart making sure that a pet doesn’t get out of the house unnoticed. If you have a pet that likes sneaking past you through open doors, you may want to consider leashing or putting the pet in another room as people come and go as a precaution.
Again, pets also get stressed. If they’re not used to being around children or large groups of people, you’ll want to take that into consideration if you’re having a large holiday party. Separating your pet by putting it in a quieter area of the house will help ease his or her stress and anxiety.
Ask your guests not to feed your pets any table foods. You may consider making available a small portion of kibble or a few treats for those guests that just can’t resist those pleading eyes.
GIFTS & WRAPPING – Your pet may not recognize that the special toy that’s just been unwrapped isn’t his or hers. Aside from having an unhappy child whose new toy is now ruined, the pet could end up with major problems. Vomiting, diarrhea or intestinal blockages can occur from pets ingesting toy parts. Rubber balls, small plastic pieces and styrofoam pose choking hazards. Ingested plastic or cloth toys often need to be removed surgically.
The festive ribbons and bows that adorn the packages, if ingested, can also pose a threat to a pet’s digestive system.
Thinking ahead and taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone, including family pets, safe will ensure a happy holiday season for all.