Holiday Safety tips

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The Holidays are an exciting and magical time of year for you and your family. However, they can also be filled with many potential hazards for your pets. With some simple safeguards, you can prevent a tragedy and keep your pets safe.


Unfortunately, several of the plants that make the holidays beautiful can be toxic to our furry friends. Mistletoe can cause cardiovascular problems as well as gastrointestinal upset. Holly will cause vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy if ingested. Lilies, frequently found in holiday bouquets, will cause kidney failure in cats if any part of the plant is ingested. Poinsettia’s, although commonly considered a poisonous plant, cause only mild irritation of the mouth from the sap in the stalks. Their toxicity level is highly overrated. In fact I have four cats and my home has several poinsettias.


Holiday decorations can be a major source of hazardous material. The additives for Christmas tree water can contain fertilizer, which is toxic to pets. Also, the water can become stagnant and filled with bacteria. Ribbons for our presents and tinsel on the tree pose a great danger to pets. The string like material can get caught within the intestinal tract and cause an obstruction and peritonitis. Glass ornaments can cause lacerations of the skin if stepped on or the mouth and intestinal tract if ingested. Exposure or ingestion of liquid potpourri can cause severe mouth, skin and eye damage. Please be careful that your pet is unable to reach any lit candles. The flame and hot wax can burn them.


Make sure your Christmas tree is secured so your pets cannot knock it over!


Many of our decorations need electricity to create their holiday magic. Unfortunately, your pets may be drawn to the cords. If your pet chews on a cord, they can be electrocuted. Try to keep all cords covered or out of reach from your pets.


Holidays also mean baking and cooking wonderful family meals. Do not give your pet any table food. Many of the higher fat foods we cook can cause vomiting, diarrhea or even pancreatitis. If you have any sugar free foods in your home, those can be very toxic to pets even in small amounts. Remember to keep raisins, chocolate, onions, garlic, and macadamia nuts away from our pets.


Finally, all of those holiday parties with family and friends can be very stressful for your pet. Make sure they have a safe, quiet place that they can retreat to. Never force your pet to be out amongst your guests. This will cause them to be stressed and fearful.


With a little thought and care, you and your pet can have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season!