It’s the holidays, and there are changes in our homes that make it a very different environment for our pets. Sometimes those changes can even be hazardous to our pets leading to sickness, injury, or death. While enjoying your holiday, please keep your pets in mind to create a safe environment for everyone.
The first concern is food and treats in the home that may be given to pets. It’s tempting to want to treat your animals at this holiday time of year, but remember that fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis in your pets. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, which can result in a life-threatening illness for your pet. Please avoid high fat foods, including chips, dips, table scraps, and baked goods. Other foods to avoid include grapes and raisins that contain chemicals toxic to dogs. Garlic and onions can be toxic, and at times, life-threatening to dogs and cats. Chocolate is hazardous to your pets and should be avoided as well. Xylitol, a sugar alcohol used as an artificial sweetener in gums and baked goods, can cause abdominal distress in pets and should be avoided. Yeast dough should be avoided as well. Nuts, especially the macadamia variety, are toxic to pets. Fruits with pits, such as peaches, cherries, and plums, can be a choking hazard, and some pits are toxic, if ingested. Mushrooms, avocados, and tomatoes can also cause problems for your pets.
The second concern is visitors to your home during the holidays. Parties and get-togethers mean there are people in your home that may not be as aware of the dangers to feeding treats to your pets as you are. Other issues include pet anxiety due to noise levels or strangers in the home, which can lead to unusual and undesirable pet behaviors. Frequent comings and goings in a party setting may also lead to your pet escaping from the home. To avoid possible problems, you might need to isolate pets in an unused room with water and toys to keep them occupied, or consider crating them to keep them safe until the excitement is over.
The third concern is the decorations found in the home during the holidays. Keep in mind that candles can be easily knocked over by pets if not monitored appropriately. Fireplaces and candles can be a fire and burn hazard to a curious pet. Tinsel and pine needles can create a choking hazard or intestinal blockage. Christmas trees, if not secured properly, can fall over on a curious pet. Electrical cords, if not hidden appropriately, can be bitten and chewed by pets and create a dangerous situation for animals and home owners. Hanging ornaments or other decorations may be considered play things by your pet, and may be knocked over or broken. Holiday plants such as lilies, poinsettias, and holly can be toxic to your pets. Be mindful of your decorations and protect yourself and them by planning a safe display.
With just a few adjustments, the holiday can be a safe and fun time for your family and your pets. Please keep these warnings in mind, and have a safe and happy holiday.