It’s that time of year again! The weather cools down and the outdoor decorating heats up as we approach Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. With all the celebration and conversation, it’s easy to overlook common hazards to your pets around the holidays. Protect your furry loved ones this holiday season by keeping an eye on these top holiday hazards:
We love all the company that comes around during the holidays, but well-meaning guests might not always do the right things concerning your pets. The constant in and out of friends and family members can be very stressful for your pets, especially cats and timid dogs. Make sure your pets have their own dedicated space away from all the holiday hustle. If you notice your pet showing signs of extreme anxiety, such as hiding all day, tremors, or unusual whining, consult a vet for possible treatments. You may even want to consider boarding your pet until everything calms down.
Another threat posed by holiday guests is accidentally letting a dog or cat outside. Many pets live inside exclusively and don’t know how to behave or defend themselves outdoors. Other pets may be inclined to run off and find themselves lost with no idea how to return home. Make sure even indoor pets wear proper identification and preferably are microchipped, during the holiday season. Fencing in outside areas is a great way to give your dog time outdoors without fear of losing them.
There are literally endless possible threats when it comes to all the decorations that come in and out of a typical household during the holiday season. Christmas trees, lights, ornaments, garland, tinsel, and more all combine to present a smorgasbord of dangerous objects for your pets, especially young and inexperienced ones. If you have a pet that loves to chew and eat decorations, avoid placing garland, tinsel, and ornaments at the bottom of your Christmas tree. You may even want to consider a small tree placed on top of a table to be out of the dog’s reach altogether.
Lights and wires are also tempting chew toys for both dogs and cats, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Not only is the pet risking a painful shock, but fires can start from damaged wiring. Cord organizers and covers can be great ways to enjoy the holiday twinkle and keep curious chewers away.
Cats present a unique problem for Christmas celebrators. Their instinct to climb your Christmas tree might get the best of them, so get ahead of the problem by securing your tree firmly in a tree stand large and stable enough to handle it. A large tree teetering in a small, flimsy tree stand might land your Christmas tree and all its decor on the living room floor. There is also a risk of fire caused by falling trees.
Food & drinks
You’ll want to continue avoiding all the usual culprits of gastrointestinal issues in pets, such as chocolate, grapes, cherry pits, avocados, apricot pits, apple seeds, coffee, Xylitol, and garlic. But, the increased consumption of alcohol and baked goods during the holidays bears mentioning that both alcohol and unbaked doughs are also dangerous for pets to consume.
Many flowers and plants popular during the holidays should be off-limits to pets, including:
- Poinsettias (not as toxic as people think, but they still cause mild irritation)
- Evergreens, like pine
Outdoor deicing chemicals
Antifreeze and other deicing chemicals are very dangerous, yet alluring to pets since they often taste sweet. Keep these types of chemicals completely away from areas where pets have access. If you think your pet has ingested one of these chemicals, take them to an emergency vet immediately.
Children aren’t the only ones that love opening holiday gifts.. .dogs and cats are notorious for spoiling holiday surprises by getting into the gifts under the tree. Gifts that contain food items are especially tempting, so think about storing these gifts somewhere out of reach until you give them out. Gifts that include batteries also pose a problem for nosy pets, especially button batteries. If you think your pet has swallowed a battery, contact a vet immediately.
We love dressing our dogs and cats up for the holidays (although they may not enjoy it so much), so it’s important to make sure that their clothes are safe too. Avoid outfits with items or accessories that can be chewed off and swallowed. So, no Christmas sweaters with sequins or jewels please! Also, make sure your pet can move freely in their clothes as tight clothing can cut off circulation and cause serious problems.
Our pets are just as much a part of the celebrations as our human friends and families, so be sure to protect them from all the risks and hazards that come with the holiday cheer. If you’re located in the Tampa Bay area and your pet gets into some holiday trouble this year, or they just need a pre-holiday makeover, call Affordable Pet Hospital in Tampa at (813) 991-9898.