Dec 19, 2021
The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to
include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up
for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet's eating
and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible.
Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy
treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.
Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and
- Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your
Christmas tree so it doesn't tip and fall, causing possible injury
to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may
contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling.
Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet
could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
- Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when
ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular
problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in
cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from
silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
- Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this
sparkly, light-catching "toy" that's easy to bat around and carry
in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead
to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and
possible surgery. It's best to brighten your boughs with something
other than tinsel.
- That Holiday Glow: Don't leave lighted
candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if
they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders,
placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the
- Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass
or plastic ornaments out of paws' reach. A wire can deliver a
potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can
cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable
ornaments can damage your pet's mouth and digestive tract.
Avoid Holiday Food Dangers
- Skip the Sweets: By now you know not to
feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but
do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to
chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the
table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids
on garbage cans.
- Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and
no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your
furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that
won't lead to costly medical bills.
- Careful with Cocktails: If your
celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your
unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If
ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a
coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
- Selecting Special Treats: Looking to
stuff your pet's stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically
indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or
chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long,
stringy things are a feline's dream, but the most risky toys for
cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck
in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with
a new ball that's too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the
interactive cat dancer.
Please visit our People
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more
Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering
- House Rules: If your animal-loving guests
would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise
while you're busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to
start a nice play or petting session.
- Put the Meds Away: Make sure all of your
medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell
your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
- A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his
own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place
to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece
of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away
from the hubbub.
- New Year's Noise: As you count down to
the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti
can get lodged in a cat's intestines, if ingested, perhaps
necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause
possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are
also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe,
escape-proof area as midnight approaches.
Share our holiday safety tips with others! Download
this shareable PDF for your friends and family.