There are few things worse than wanting to have a good time, but not being able to for fear of something bad happening. When it comes to holiday pet safety, it might seem like you can’t decorate or display festive items inside the home for fear of how it might affect your pet. Sure, you want to limit or eliminate items known for endangering pets but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the way you want.
When you’re proactive, you can truly have your holiday cake and eat it, too!
Oh So Bright
The following holiday decorations certainly add to the general splendor of the season, but they have the potential to land your pet in hot water:
- Lights – Whether they are strung up outside, around the the holiday tree, or around the railing and bannister, electric lights can cause shock and entanglement risks. Please do not dangle string lights, leave them on the floor/ground, and always prohibit your pet from chewing on them. If broken, lights can cause cuts, lacerations, and worse, if swallowed.
- Tinsel – It’s so shiny and enticing, but this metallic stringy stuff can cause serious gastrointestinal issues. Cats are especially prone to this holiday disaster, and a good rule of thumb is to not have tinsel in the house at all.
- Ribbon – Along the same lines as tinsel, presents wrapped or decorated with ribbon can present GI risks. Instead of leaving ribboned gifts under the tree for weeks or days, only place them there when it’s time for the exchange. Watch your pet closely and discourage them from playing with or chewing on ribbon or bows.
- Ornaments – Glass ornaments look pretty but if they fall and break, your pet’s paw pads could get cut. If licked up and eaten, glass shards can cause major problems internally. Be sure that your hooks are strong, and clean up any broken pieces immediately.
- Candles – Live flame candles and simmering potpourri must be displayed in places your pet cannot access or bump into.
Oh So Dangerous
The Christmas tree is a must for many families, but please be aware of their inherent dangers:
- Needles can poke or prick your pet’s soft paws, cause irritation if sniffed up the nose, or even cut the mouth if licked up.
- The water in the tree stand can contain dangerous levels of pesticides, fire retardants, and fertilizers. Inhibit your pet from lapping up a toxic drink by barricading or otherwise securing the tree water.
- If you’ve got a pet that likes to jump and leap, be sure to attach the tree to the wall and/or ceiling to prevent the tree from falling on your precious pet.
Speaking of plants, poinsettia, holly, and mistletoe can also cause dangerous side effects if eaten.
Holiday Pet Safety
Remember, one of the prime goals of holiday pet safety is restricting dangerous food from passing your pet’s path. Chocolate, alcohol, Xylitol, macadamia nuts, raisins/grapes, onions, garlic, and more must remain off the floor. Similarly, fatty foods like butter or gravy can cause a dangerous and painful condition called pancreatitis.
Maintain your pet’s health and safety throughout the holidays by including them in ways that protect them. A tired pet is one that doesn’t look for trouble (usually). Increase opportunities for exercise, play together more, and keep them happy with a (moderate) plate of wonderful holiday goodies including:
- Steamed veggies
- Sweet potato
- Unsweetened pumpkin