The holidays are right around the corner! Soon our homes will be full of decorations, festive sweets, and trees. Even though the holidays are arguably “the most wonderful time of the year,” they cause a lot more safety hazards for our furry friends. Here are some tips to keep your home pet friendly this holiday season:
Toxic Sweets and Treats
Keep chocolate and other sweets out of your dog’s reach. Xylitol is a toxic ingredient found in chocolate, cake, cookie mixes, yogurt, and even peanut butter. Avoid putting wrapped chocolate under the tree because your dog may tear into it. We know nothing is more tempting than slipping your pet some holiday treats from the table, but it is better to be safe than sorry. People food can upset your pet’s stomach and cause illness. Keep fatty foods like turkey or ham down to a minimum and totally avoid onions, onion powder, grapes, and raisins (these last two are often found in holiday cookies and cakes).
Make sure you take precautions when putting a tree in your home because they can be very problematic for pets. Secure your tree properly so your pet cannot knock it over. Pine needles are sharp and can cause intestinal issues if ingested. Ornaments pose a choking hazard to pets so make sure they are secured to the tree. Avoid tinsel if you have a cat. Lastly, the water at the base of the tree can contain chemicals and preservatives that pets can consume. If you have a curious pet, a fake tree is probably your best bet.
Candles, menorahs and any open-flame objects pose a threat not only to your pet, but also to you and your home. They should be kept far out of your pets’ reach and never left unattended.
Electrical Cords and Batteries
Electrical cords and string lights around your home or outside are very hazardous to your pet. Pets sometimes find it amusing to chew on cords, which can give them a harmful jolt, burns, abnormal heartbeat, and in worse-case scenarios, death. All cords should be secured and out of the way. Batteries may be lying around for new gifts, but make sure to keep them out of reach. Batteries are a choking hazard and can cause burns and internal blockages. If you see your pet consume a battery, even the small round ones, take them to the vet immediately.
Cats may bat snow globes off of shelves or tables. Inside some of them contain ethylene glycol, a highly toxic substance to all pets. Its sweet smell can attract a pet to lick it up and this can lead to a potentially fatal intoxication. Broken glass is also a hazard. Keep snow globes out of reach of pets.
Did you know that holly and mistletoe are poisonous to dogs and cats? If you normally use these plants to decorate your home, they should be kept in an area your pet cannot reach. Poinsettias are also not a great idea, as they can cause nausea and vomiting if ingested.
When gift wrapping, be sure to keep your pet away. Wrapping paper, string, ribbon, plastic pieces or cloth could all cause intestinal blockages. Scissors are another pet safety hazard, and they should be kept off floors or low tables. Be cautious about leaving wrapped gifts with ribbon and bows under the tree where your pets can get to them.
Stay safe this holiday season!