Holiday Pet Safety

Family pets receiving gifts for Christmas - dog a kitten with sm

The holiday season is a special time for everyone in the home. But with all the hustle and bustle, sometimes we can forget how special of a time this can also be for our family pets. Here are seven helpful hints from the ASPCA to keep you and your furry friend(s) happy and healthy this season:

  1. Careful of the Christmas tree: Always ensure your tree is stable and weighted down to avoid it toppling ontop of your furry friend or spilling any tree water, which can contain poisonous fertilizer or harmful bacteria. It’s in good practice to use natural, non-toxic Christmas tree food.
  2. Seasonal plant sickness: Even though they don’t smell as nice, artificial trees might be the way to go this Christmas if you have fur-babies running around. Depending on your pet’s behavior, they might feel inclined to ingest holiday plants which can cause problems. Holly can bring nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when ingested, and mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular issues. Other plants to watch out for: poinsettias, lilies, daffodils, and amaryllises.
  3. Put out the fire: Always remember to blow out the candles and extinguish the fire by the end of the night. If knocked over, pets can cause serious burns to themselves or create a fire in the house. Make sure to set them on flat, stable surfaces and in the appropriate holders.
  4. Not-so-delicious decor: Cats love sparkly tinsel but there’s a number of risks involved if your cat swallows any of it. Harmful wires and plastics could block their digestive tract and cause harm. In addition, your dog might mistake glass ornaments for tennis balls which could cause serious lacerations to your pet’s mouth and stomach if chomped. Also, be careful of those dancing Santa animatronics (or other electric decor) – they can possibly electrocute your animals and usually contain batteries, wires and other synthetic materials that are toxic!
  5. Toss the Table Scraps: As someone who’s experienced this first hand… DO NOT FEED YOUR DOG OR CAT LEFTOVERS. Fatty leftovers, meat drippings, and bones can cause internal injury, suffocation, and/or vomiting.
  6. Season of Sweets: With all the extra holiday treats and goodies lying around, make sure to keep your pets away from the table and secure and store away garbage to prevent your pet from getting into something they shouldn’t! Be especially careful with sugar-free snacks that contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is poisonous for your four-legged friend!
  7. Room of rest and relaxation: The holiday festivities can be a bit overwhelming for your furry friend, so give them their own quiet space to go when they need a break or two from the holiday tunes and chatter. Stock the room with fresh water and comfort items, like a pet bed or their favorite toy.

For more information, go to aspca.org