Chances are you’re probably spending time with your furry children this holiday season. With that in mind there are always precautions that should be taken. Here are some holiday pet safety tips to factor into the festivities.

Christmas trees are beautiful but make sure you keep your pet away from the tree stand. The water in the stand can house fertilizers from the tree itself and bacteria can also grow in the stagnant water. There’s also the concern of the tree itself. It should be secured well enough that you don’t run the risk of it tipping over on a curious cat or dog. Perhaps place it in the corner where tipping is less likely. Tend to the area frequently to remove any possible pine needles which can cause intestinal problems if swallowed.

Holly and mistletoe are poisonous to pets and can cause serious health problems. I suggest going artificial with these. Lilies, poinsettias, amaryllis, hibiscus and certain types of ivy can cause problems for pets so those should be avoided as well.

Avoid tinsel around the house. It’s pretty to look at but there’s nothing pretty about an obstructed digestive tract or emergency surgery — which can be a possibility if your pet ingests the sparkly decoration.

Stick with twinkle lights instead of candles. Unattended candles around your pets is just asking for trouble. If you must go with candles be sure they are in solid protective holders and that you blow them out when you leave the room.

If you go with those twinkle lights make sure the wires are out of reach. Keep from off of the lower branches of your tree. The ornaments hanging from your tree or around the house could also be dangerous if ingested or stepped on by your furry child.

Be cautious when wrapping gifts. String and scissors should be kept off of floors or low tables where they are less likely to be touched by your pets.

Be careful with the human food. During the holidays there are an assortment of goodies that can be dangerous is consumed by your fuzzy children. The obvious chocolates and artificially sweetened items should be kept away and in a safe place. Keep in mind any fatty or spicy foods and especially anything with bones. Keep any alcoholic beverages away from your pet’s roaming tongue as well. Any of these people-friendly items can be issues for your pet. Do yourself a favor and ensure that the lid to your garbage can is also secure.

If you’re planning on gifting your pet any toys be sure to stick with pet-friendly chew toys. Kong toys are safe and can be safely filled with treats. For your cat try to avoid stringy toys. Ribbons, yarn and little pieces can cause digestive issues and potential obstructions. Spare yourself the inevitable grief and don’t even bother with these toys. Stick with a new ball (that’s too big to swallow) and consider a stuffed catnip toy or interactive cat dancer.

 

Tell your house guests to keep their medications carefully zipped up and packed away. Consider giving your pet a private space somewhere quiet they can retreat to away from all the noise and commotion. New Year’s is the next major holiday on the agenda and with that comes noisy poppers and fireworks.

 

 

Avoid giving pets as gifts to those not in your immediate family. A pet is not like caring for a plant. It’s a full-time job. Gifting a living being to someone who may not be prepared to handle everything that comes with that is not a good idea. This is what often results in animals being given up for adoption a few weeks into the new year. If you plan on giving someone a pet as a gift make sure they’re aware and have told you they are okay with that.

There are always unforeseeable incidents that can occur so make sure you have some emergency numbers easily accessible should anything happen. Remember that our doctors are only a phone call away and can be reached if you have any concerns or questions. I’ll never forget a dog we saw a few years ago suffering from lethargy and diarrhea. After having X-rays done we saw a perfectly centered metal “Star of David” in the dog’s stomach. It had been in the cup-holder of a client’s car. The client has placed a cupcake on top. Left alone for just a moment in the car resulted in the dog swallowing the cupcake and the star. Luckily the dog was okay after some surgery but the issue could have been easily avoided with some easy pet-proofing. That was just a dog in a car. Imagine a home filled with visiting guests and holiday chaos. Safe yourself the headache and take a little time to ensure your holiday festivities are joyous and relaxing.

 

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