As the Christmas lights go up and the holiday songs come on the radio, we are reminded of all the nostalgia of Christmas. But while it’s a wonderful time of year for us, our pets can get stressed and may have to deal with many hazards and unusual (to them) things around the home.
Following our list can avert untimely mishaps with your pet. I encourage you to follow these tips and keep your furry loved ones safe and happy this holiday season.
1. Protect Your Pets from Holiday Decorations
At first glance, holiday decorations may seem harmless. But realize these are new items in your home, and most pets will be curious about them and want to check them out.
Due to their shiny appearance, tinsel and ornaments attract pets who may want to play with them, chew on them, or eat them.
Non-breakable ornaments are recommended. Tinsel can result in severe damage to your pet’s intestines if ingested. So, with pets in the home, please leave the tinsel in the box or at the store.
2. Electrical Cords
Maybe your pet does not typically chew on electrical cords, but when you put up your Christmas tree, this is something new to them. They may get attracted to light cords. Electrical shock could occur when a pet bites down on an electrical cord causing deep cuts or tears in its tongue and possible death. Check your holiday lights for signs of fraying or chewing and use a grounded three-prong extension cord as a safety precaution. It’s best to keep your lights off when you are not around to supervise your pets. You can also purchase cord protectors such as the Chewsafe Cord Cover, PetCords Dog & Cat Protector.
You can call us or Pet Poison Helpline for treatment advice if you suspect your dog or cat has been electrocuted or eaten tinsel.
3. Decorative Flowers and Plants
Poinsettias, Lilies, Amaryllis, and Holly are popular Christmas decorations. Unfortunately, they are toxic to pets. Here are some beautiful alternatives.
Red roses instead of Poinsettias
White Orchids instead of Lilies
Achira instead of Amaryllis
Autumn Olive instead of Holly
4. Do Not Let Your Pet Eat People’s Food
Some foods we eat can cause mild to severe stomach upset for pets. But others can be highly toxic and cause death in a pet. Here are some of the most dangerous holiday foods that are very toxic to animals:
- Coffee (Caffeine)
- Poultry bones
- Raisins and grapes
- Xylitol (Mints, candies gum)
- Yeast dough
- Onions, Garlic, Chives
A Safe Rule of Thumb
To avoid an emergency over the holidays, play it safe. Keep all people food away from your pets. Also, if you have guests, ensure they know not to feed your pet any of their food nor leave any food dropped on the floor or ground for your pets to snatch up!
5. Protect Your Pets from the Cold Weather
Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health.
Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection.
Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have difficulty regulating their body temperature. They may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and older pets. Consult your veterinarian if you need help determining your pet’s temperature limits.
We recommend always keeping cats inside (unless you have a secure outdoor cat enclosure for use during nice weather or take your cat on walks using a harness). Accompany your dog outdoors when they need to relieve themselves or get some exercise. Keep in mind that if you feel cold and want to go back inside, your pet is getting cold too.
Another thing, when walking your pets be watchful for coolant or antifreeze on the ground – it is lethal for dogs and cats. Unfortunately, both dogs and cats are attracted to its taste. If you spill any near your vehicle, clean it up well.
Our Best Holiday Wishes to You
Our services are designed to help pet owners become great pet parents, and to help pets live healthy and happy lives. We hope you can follow these tips and have a safe and wonderful holiday with your furry family members.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Dr. Ashley Tuma
Pine Creek Animal Hospital