Pet Holiday Safety Tips

All the commotion that happens this time of year can leave your pet overlooked; and as a result, they sometimes get into some serious trouble. Here are things to keep a watchful eye on during your holiday celebrations.

  • Food left out and about: Do not leave any food unattended if you have pets (and make sure your guests don’t either).  Sometimes, even the best dogs and cats can’t resist the temptation of a delicious holiday feast.
    • Even if the food is not toxic to your pet, over-eating can cause pancreatitis [inflammation of the pancreas], which requires immediate treatment and can be fatal.
    • This also includes bones.  Please do not “throw your dog [or cat] a bone” as a present.  Bones can break your pet’s teeth as well as splinter in the digestive tract and cause major internal problems.
    • These particular foods are also poisonous to our canine and feline friends:
      • Chocolate
      • Xylitol [a sweetener often found in food labeled as “Sugar Free”]
      • Grapes and Raisins
      • Alcohol [especially wines as they are made from grapes]
  • Pets escaping: Make sure your guests don’t let your pet slip out upon entering or leaving your home.  Since sometimes our pets can be extra sneaky, we advise having your pet’s collar on with their ID tags at all times as well as having your pet microchipped (with your contact information updated)
  • Secure the Christmas tree:  If you’ve got a tree stationed in your living room, be sure it is anchored properly.  Though “Pet’s knocking over the Christmas tree” makes for a hilarious Youtube video, it can be dangerous to your pet.  If the tree falls onto your pet, it can do some serious damage; in addition to this, the water in the base of your tree may contain fertilizers and pine sap that are toxic to your cat or dog.  Place the tree in a corner with notable boundaries.  Adding crinkly bottles, aluminum foil, etc. to areas surrounding the tree can help alert you to if your pet is trying to get close.
  • Ditch the tinsel: Both dogs and cats, but especially cats, will find enjoyment in playing with strands of tinsel.  This may seem harmless, but can wreak havoc when swallowed.  Tinsel can cause an intestinal blockage requiring intensive and expensive surgery.  No one wants to spend their holiday in the animal ER this year, so best leave the tree tinsel-less.
  • Avoid placing decorations on low branches of the tree: Pets may chew on the wiring for lights and get tangled up.  This could potentially cause your pet to get electrically shocked, burned, or start a fire.  Other ornaments may get swallowed, broken, etc. and cause your pet harm.
  • Clean up the pine needles: Pine needles can be dangerous and cause internal punctures if swallowed by your pet.  Keep them up and off the floor as often as you can.
  • Beware of beautiful, poisonous plants: Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe are common decor during this time of year, but all are toxic to dogs and cats.  For a full list of toxic vs. non-toxic plants, check out this list from the ASPCA.
  • Keep the cords up an away: Whether it’s the plug for the lights outside or the extension cord for the giant slow-cooker of mashed potatoes, keep them up an away from pets.  A pet who chews on these cords could wind up electrocuted.
  • Do not leave candles or moving decorations unattended: A curious pet may knock over a candle and burn themselves or your entire house down.  On the other hand, holiday train sets or dancing snowmen may frighten your pet into attack mode.

Hopefully, you and your pet are able to avoid all of these potential disasters this holiday season; but if not, know that the staff here at Emerald Animal Hospital as well as that of the Animal Emergency Clinic West are here to help.  We will do our best to answer any questions you may have and preform any preventative care, diagnostics, or treatments needed.  Give us a call at 216-749-7161 to set up an appointment for your pet!

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