While many people look forward to the holiday season, the holidays can be a stressful time of the year, especially for pets. Keep your furry friends happy, healthy and safe this holiday season by avoiding the potential holiday hazards and dangers listed below before an emergency occurs.
Holiday Food Dangers for Pets
Unfortunately, food-related illnesses in pets climb during the holiday season. Know the potential risks before you feed your favorite four-legged friend something that can be dangerous or fatal.
- Let’s Talk Turkey – Don’t give raw or undercooked meat to your pets.
- Bones – When it comes to turkey bones, don’t! Make sure there are no bones or bone chips in your pet’s food. According to the SPCA International, bones and fragments can lodge in the stomach, intestinal tract or the throat causing obstructions, internal bleeding or punctures!
- And speaking of turkey – be sure to safely discard the netting around the turkey and the carcass too! When in doubt, toss it out!
- Moderation – While pets enjoy a treat from time-to-time, giving your pet too much food can lead to stomach upset and diarrhea. Even though it may be hard to resist those big brown eyes staring at you while you munch on that ginormous turkey leg, moderation is key. You’ll also want to avoid large fatty meals, which can cause pancreatitis.
According to Veterinarian and freelance writer, Dr. Lorie Huston, “Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, especially for dogs. Xylitol-containing sweets can also be dangerous for dogs. Chocolate, macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins, onions, garlic and alcohol are other things that can be dangerous for both dogs and cats.” According to the ASPCA, the following foods, which can cause all sorts of issues, are a no-no any time of the year:
- Alcoholic Beverages – Beware of your four-legged friends trying to take a sip out of that holiday punch!
- Batter/Dough with raw eggs – like cake batter.
- Grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure.
- Nuts – Skip the nuts! Certain nuts can cause serious upset in pets. Macadamia nuts, moldy pecans and walnuts can cause seizures, vomiting and neurological issues.
- Sage, a seasoning used in stuffing, can cause tummy upset and central nervous system depression.
- Spicy Foods
- Xylitol, a sweetener – is often used in candy. It can lead to liver failure in pets.
Holidays Plant Dangers
While plants add holiday ambiance to your home, some plants are hazardous or even deadly to pets. Dr. Huston reminds us that other plants including some types of mistletoe, holly, amarylis and lilies, can be especially dangerous to pets. Please keep the following plants out of reach:
- Autumn Crocus
- Balsam and pine can cause irritation
- Daffodil (Paper whites) can be hazardous to animals.
- Holly – Just a few holly berries can be toxic.
- Mistletoe and berries can cause digestive upset, irregular heartbeats and cardiac shock.
- Poinsettias are not as poisonous as they’ve earned a reputation for being but they can cause some minor intestinal upset according to Dr. Huston.
For more information about hazardous plants, please read this helpful article by the ASPCA.
Holiday Decorations Dangers for Pets:
- Christmas Lights – Whether you have a strand or two adorning the tree, mantle or stairway, make sure your holiday lights are properly secured. Some pets like to chew on cords which could result in electrical shock.
- Bubble Lights – Those charming old-fashioned bubble lights are not so charming for pets. They may contain a toxic solvent so keep them away from curious pets.
- Cords – Electrical cords are not only hazardous to babies; they can be dangerous for pets as well. Make sure exposed cords are secured. And if you have a live tree, make sure dangling cords are not near the water.
- Candles – Be sure to keep candles out of reach of little hands and paws and never leave burning candles unattended.
- All that Glitters – Tinsel, ribbons, spray-on snow and ornament hooks can be dangerous to pets. Tinsel and Styrofoam can cause gastrointestinal blockage that can be life-threatening. Please make sure they are all safely out of reach.
- Ornaments – Shiny, dangling objects can be especially alluring to pets. Please make sure they are out of reach. And if you have homemade, edible ornaments hanging around, make sure they are out of reach as well. Be sure to properly dispose of any broken glass or ornaments as soon as possible.
- Snow Globes – While snow globes add a special holiday charm to any household, some may contain antifreeze – which can be fatal to pets.
- Gift Wrap – Make sure to safely dispose of gift wrap, tape, foil and plastic wrapping, strings and tags. Be sure to watch out for plastic bags and those plastic six-pack pop holders too. Animals can get tangled up them.
- Batteries – Although many gadgets and toys require batteries to get up and go, some pets may prefer to chew or swallow them. Chewing on batteries can result in sharp shards. Batteries can burn the mouth and throat or get lodged in an animal’s throat. In other words, keep batteries away from pets.
- Fireplaces, portable heaters and wood stoves are nice and cozy but can be dangerous for pets. Make sure your pet does not jump on top of a hot stove or is far enough away from a roaring fire not to get burned.
Christmas Tree Hazards
- Secure It – Whether you have a real one or a fake one, make sure your tree is properly secured. After all, cat’s love to climb and that pretty Christmas tree may just be too tempting.
- Water – Some people add chemicals to the water in their Christmas tree stand to make the tree stay fresher longer. Make sure to read the label on the packaging just in case Fido or Fluffy decides to take a nice, long drink.
- Pine sap can also be dangerous.
- Tree Needles – Real pine needles from trees, wreaths and garland are very sharp. Make sure to pick up the needles as soon as possible. And here’s a little tip – vacuuming up pine needles is hazardous to your vacuum cleaner!
- And last but not least, let’s talk trash. Once you throw everything out, make sure your pets don’t have access to the trash either! Some will do just about anything to get those goodies “safely” tucked away into the trash bag. Make sure to dispose of the trash in a covered trash can or dumpster.
Remember – the holidays can be filled with all sorts of new sounds, sights and smells for our little friends. Try to keep stress to a minimum by sticking to a regular routine and diet and avoid as much as the holiday commotions as possible. Be sure to check out 15 Homemade Pet Treat Recipes for Fido & Fluffy.
Believe it or not, the holidays are right around the corner. Be sure to check out the family-friendly and affordable holiday ideas below:
- 20 Free Gingerbread House Patterns
- 6 Festive Christmas Punch Recipes
- 25 Best Homemade Gingerbread Cookie Recipes
- 25 Gourmet Fruitcake Recipes
- 50 Christmas Cookie Recipes: Best Homemade Cookies for the Holidays
- 15 Christmas Cupcake Recipes for the Holidays
- Free Christmas Gift Tags
- Holiday Hazards & Dangers for Pets
- 15 Homemade Holiday Pet Treats
- 31 Decadent Chocolate Christmas Cookie Recipes for the Holidays
- 25 Gourmet Fruitcake Recipes
- Free Homemade Christmas Gift Tags, Gifts Bags & Holiday Party Invitations
- Christmas Sayings: 33 Sentimental and Humorous Sayings, Quotes & Toasts for the Holidays
- Christmas Fudge: Rich and Creamy Fudge for the Holidays
- Veterinarian and freelance writer, Dr. Lorie Huston
- Cornell University. Veterinary Toxicologist Larry Thomspon
- Tampa Bay. Tips to Keep Pets Safe for the Holidays
- Pawprints and Purrs Inc. Plants and Pets -Toxic Listing.
- SF. Bay Westie Club. Turkey Bones
- Vermont Veterinary Medical Association. Pets Eating Turkey Bones