It’s the most wonderful time of year….until Fido eats everything on the table set up for the Christmas party or Fluffy Cat decided to swallow a pretty ribbon. The holidays are meant to be a time spent with family and friends and not at the veterinarian or veterinary emergency hospital. Here’s some things to avoid to keep your pets happy and healthy this holiday season.
Holiday bows, ribbons and wrapping paper – beautifully wrapped gifts are festive and fun, but make sure that they are kept out of reach of pets, especially after opening when a pretty ribbon could be easily swallowed and become an intestinal foreign body that might require surgery to remove.
Hanging ornaments – low-hanging ornaments are just begging to be played with. Make sure that what’s in reach for a cat or dog is shatterproof. If your kitty is a climber, consider anchoring your tree to a ceiling hook with invisible fishing line. Tinsel is pretty, but may not be appropriate for your tree with a curious cat or puppy.
Candles – Never leave a lit candle unattended and in reach of pets. While the candle itself may not attract attention, it can easily be knocked over and lead to much more unpleasant problems.
Holiday foods – they are rich, fatty and yummy. And, if a pet overindulges intentionally as treats or stealthy by sneaking, those novel foods can cause digestive upset that leads to vomiting and/or diarrhea. Avoid bones as they can splinter as chewed and lead to oral and/or intestinal injuries.
Christmas Tree Water – additives are used routinely to help make a tree last longer, but the ingredients can definitely upset the digestive tract if consumed by a cat or a dog. Make sure the water reservoir cannot be accessed by pets.
Poisonous Plants – many common holiday plants, including mistletoe, pine tree needles, amaryllis lilies, red azaleas and paperwhites can be toxic to pets and lead to significant digestive irritation, especially those in the lily family which can lead to fatal toxicity. Keep all holiday plants out of reach to prevent nibbling. If any concerns about ingestion, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435/fee for service).
Pets as Gifts – every companion animal deserves a good home and while it seems perfect as a Christmas present, this hectic time might not be the best time to add a new family member. According to the CATalyst Council, shelters nationwide report a uptick of new arrivals right after the holidays when people surrender the “gift pet” they may not have wanted.