Help Your Curious Pet Have a Safe and Happy Holiday

Dogs and cats are already curious creatures, but when you throw in the sights and sounds of the winter holidays it's almost more than they can stand. However, that doesn't mean you have to forgo decorating your home or entertaining guests. It just takes some extra attention to detail to make sure that your pet doesn't become accidentally ill or injured this holiday season.

Pet-Safe Holiday Decorations
Although you can teach your pet not to bother most ornaments, some are just too risky to keep around him. These include snow globes, bubble lights, tinsel, and unattended lighted candles. The first two contain potentially hazardous chemicals that could make your pet very ill if ingested. Methylene chloride, the main chemical in these ornaments, can also cause eye irritation and a depressed mood. 

Tinsel is not poisonous, but it can get caught in an animal's digestive tract and cause the intestines to rupture. If you choose to light candles, be sure to supervise your pet around them at all times and extinguish them when done. Better yet, choose plug-in candles rather than ones you have to light yourself.

Holiday Foods and Spirits
People enjoy making their dog or cat happy and assume that sharing a few holiday treats won't hurt her. Unfortunately, even a small bite or lick of the wrong food could have serious consequences. It's best to continue feeding your pet her regular diet throughout the holidays and insist that others avoid sneaking her treats. Foods that can be especially harmful for pets include:

• Raisins
• Grapes
• Chocolate
• Fatty meat scraps
• Sugarless gum and candy
• Drinks containing alcohol

Ingesting one of these foods or drinks could cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, liver or kidney failure, seizures, pancreatitis, and more. In addition to refusing to give your pet these foods, you need to be extra vigilant to ensure that she doesn't get into them on her own.

Holiday Plants and Potpourri
Decorative plants and pleasant-smelling potpourri can really put you in the holiday spirit, but you must supervise your pet closely around them or keep them out of his reach entirely. The most dangerous plants for pets to ingest include holly, mistletoe, and lilies. Swallowing even one leaf of these plants can cause sudden kidney failure in cats. Liquid potpourri is especially dangerous because animals can burn themselves and become seriously ill from ingesting it. We recommend removing it from the room anytime you are not there to supervise.

Keep Your Pet's Routine as Normal as Possible
Dogs and cats can pick up on their owner's stress and may start to exhibit problem behavior because of it. To avoid this, be sure to keep your pet's eating, socializing, and exercising routine as close to the  normal routine as you can this holiday season. If you're expecting company, create a safe place for your pet to retreat from all of the noise and commotion. Ask others to respect your pet's limits as well.

If you do experience an emergency with your pet over the winter holidays, please contact our nearest clinic during regular hours or 1-800-924-0588 after hours. You can also reach the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661.

Tags: pet safety, holiday safety

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