With the holidays coming up, it is always a good idea to review some good practices when it comes to your pets and decorations, food, and spirits. Even the best behaved pets can be tempted by the holiday cheer, so taking preventative steps to avoid an unhealthy interaction is always a good idea.
- Christmas trees: Trees can pose multiple risks to pets. For cats, tinsel on the tree can be tempting to chew on, along with the needles. Trees can also pose a fall risk if a dog or cat gets too rambunctious and jumps on the tree. In addition, for live trees the water in the holder/basin can become ripe with bacteria/molds that may cause stomach upset.
- Lights: Lights are pretty to look at, but can be too tempting for some pets. If your pet is prone to chewing on things, make sure that the wires are hidden away or covered. Protective wire covers can be purchased to give some protection from pets chewing.
- Candles: Open flames and pets typically don’t mix, so it is best to leave these un-lit and consider a plug-in scent to get you in the holiday mood.
- Candy: While most pets can handle a little milk chocolate, getting into a bag of candy can cause considerable stomach issues. If baking, make sure that any Baker’s chocolate is stored away as this can cause life-threatening problems to dogs due to the high methylxanthine and caffeine content. Also, make sure to avoid in foods with the sugar substitute xylitol, as this can cause severe liver issues in dogs, even with small amounts.
- Alcohol: Humans may not be the only mammal in the house that enjoys an adult beverage. Make sure to pour out any half-empty cocktails to ensure your pet doesn’t sneak a drink.
- Fatty foods: Make sure any left-overs are carefully stored away, so your dog doesn’t become a living garbage disposal. Foods high in fat can cause significant gastrointestinal issues, so keeping these away from your animals will prevent you from cleaning up a different holiday mess.
If your pet does happen to get into something they shouldn’t, you should contact your veterinarian immediately to see whether it is something to worry about. If it is after hours, there are a couple good pet poison control resources available at either ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, (888) 426-4435, or the Pet Poison Helpline, (855) 764-7661. There may be a fee associated with speaking to a veterinary technician or veterinarian if calling one of these poison control hotlines.
Have a fun and safe holiday season!