The holidays bring joy and festivities to our lives but can also bring grave dangers to our pets. Below are some of the most common dangers to be aware of.
- FESTIVE FOODS – Feeding your pet a bit of turkey is okay, as long as it has been fully cooked and is bone-free. Undercooked turkey may contain salmonella bacteria and bones could splinter and get lodged in your pet’s digestive tract. Dr. Wismer urges pet owners to also be extremely careful with alcoholic beverages. “Pets that ingest alcohol can become very sick and may fall into a coma, leading to an untimely death,” she says. Chocolate too should be kept far away from pets, as it can cause symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rate and seizures.
- DANGEROUS DECORATIONS – Decorations are a fun way to celebrate the season, but they also introduce some danger. Candles are popular, but keep them out of reach of curious cats (and dogs) that might swat at flames, burn themselves or even knock candles over. “It’s also important to keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach,” adds Dr. Wismer. “A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock, and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus. Shards of breakable ornaments are very sharp and could also be dangerous.” Tinsel is very appealing to cats, but a curious nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible emergency surgery.
- PESKY PLANTS – Certain festive plants can also cause some serious damage if pets ingest them. “Lilies are popular holiday flowers, but they can cause kidney failure in cats,” notes Wismer. “And festive plants like holly and mistletoe also can be dangerous and cause gastrointestinal upset or, in rare cases with mistletoe, cardiovascular problems. It’s best to use non-toxic decorations such as wood, fabric or even pinecones.” Some believe the popular poinsettia is highly toxic to pets, but that’s mostly a myth. Poinsettias cause only mild to moderate gastrointestinal irritation. Keeping it out of pets’ reach is still a good idea, but there’s no need to banish it altogether. Christmas trees are not particularly toxic, but precautions should be taken to ensure the tree is securely anchored so it doesn’t tip or fall. Tree water—which may contain fertilizers and bacteria that can cause stomach upset, nausea or diarrhea if ingested— should be covered to protect pets from drinking it.
For more information on Holiday dangers please visit the ASPCA website.