MAKE SURE YOUR PET ENJOYS THE HOLIDAYS TOO
Christmas trees and their decorations can create hazards for pets.
Place Christmas trees in a stable stand, and attach the tree securely to a window or wall with something like fish line. We have known others who have hung their tree from the ceiling! To keep pets away from the tree, it may help to use a Scat Mat. While most dog owners use an indoor exercise pen to provide a safe place for a pet to play, during the holidays, some people place the pen around the tree. Even though you take precautions, make sure your dog is always supervised when in a room with a tree.
Tree needles can be toxic and cause mouth and stomach irritation. Even needles and the wire of artificial trees could pose a problem. Be sure your dog is not chewing on branches or eating fallen needles.
Tinsel’s shininess is attractive. When eaten, it can cause blockages, which often require surgery to remove. Leave it off the tree altogether.
Angel hair, flocking, and artificial snow are mildly toxic. If consumed in larger amounts, however, they could cause blockage of the intestine. Try decorating with something less likely to cause a problem.
Chewing on electrical cords, including cords of lights can cause problems ranging from burned mouths, to electrical shock to death by electrocution. Some larger lights can become quite hot, and could also cause burns. Unplug decorative lights when you are not there, use pet-proof extension cords, and spray cords with a product such as Bitter Apple or Chew Stop.
Dogs will often play with glass ornaments as if they were balls and serious oral lacerations can result. Sharp ornament hooks can also become imbedded in your pet’s mouth or esophagus. Place ornaments that are shiny, or could be swallowed or broken high up on your tree. Larger, less intriguing ornaments can go near the bottom.
Decorating trees with food is asking for problems. Candy canes and gingerbread people can be as enticing to your dog as they are to children.. Popcorn, raisin, or cranberry garlands are beautiful, but can cause an obstruction when eaten, requiring surgery.
Because tree preservatives are often sugar-based (and inviting to dogs) and because the water stands so long, the water in the tree stand often harbors potentially harmful bacteria. Fertilizers, insecticides, or flame retardants that were used on the tree may also get into the water. Cover the stand with a tree skirt or use other means to prevent access to the water.
Decorations and Wrappings
All that glitters is not gold – it could be dangerous for your pet.
Ribbons, yarn, and string can cause intestinal obstruction and bunching of the intestine along the length of the string. These conditions require surgery and can be fatal. Ribbons around your dog’s neck may be cute, but they can also be dangerous.
Adhesives and glues can be toxic and are often attractive to animals.
Potpourri contains oils that can be toxic to dogs if eaten. We may not think of eating it, but some curious pets may.
Candles can cause burns and fires. Never leave lighted candles unattended or within reach of your pet
Forget the Mistletoe & Holly
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
Skip the dessert
Pets and sweets don’t mix, so make sure your dog or cat has zero access to holiday goodies like candy, cookies, chocolate and other sugary foods, including any food that is artificially sweetened
And to be on the very safe side, also prevent your pet from counter surfing in the kitchen, sniffing the table at meal time, and nosing around in the garbage. Believe it or not, there’s a long list of people foods that are toxic to pets, so don’t even chance it.
Beverages should also be kept out of your pet’s reach. Beer, wine and liquor can make your dog or cat quite ill, and can even be life threatening.
Provide your pet with a quiet place to retreat
During holiday festivities, dogs and especially cats get overwhelmed and over-stimulated just like kids do. Make sure your companion has her own out-of-the-way spot stocked with fresh water, a few treats and toys, and comfy bedding to snuggle up in.
New Year’s celebrations can be a special problem for pets, so keep yours a safe distance from confetti, streamers, noise makers and other dangers.
Happy holidays to you and your pet!