Pet Safe Holiday Tips
The holiday season is a time of laughter, joy, and festivities, but for our furry companions, there are numerous hazards during this time. From tempting treats to twinkling lights, Christmas brings a lot of potential dangers for our pets. However, there are certain ways by which these problems can be overcome. In this blog, we will discuss some common risks that our pets can suffer from during the time of festivities, and we will give you some expert tips to enjoy pet-safe holidays.
Deck the Halls with Caution:
Decoration is the main component of Christmas that makes our home festive, but it poses some serious threats to our furry friends. There are shiny lights and ornaments on the Christmas trees, and they can be tempting for your pets, especially cats. Here are tips to make the décor pet-friendly this season.
- Secure the Tree: Make sure that your Christmas trees are anchored tightly in order to prevent them from toppling on your pet when they decide to climb.
- Choose Pet-Safe Ornaments: Always choose ornaments that are shatterproof, as this will minimize the risk of injuries to your pets and keep these things out of the reach of your pets.
- Hide the Wires: Make sure there are no visible electrical cords as they pose serious danger. Keep them tucked so your pets won’t chew them. Electrical shocks caused by these wires can be life-threatening.
- Skip the Tinsel: Tinsel, while a popular and festive decoration during the holiday season, can pose a number of dangers to pets. They may attempt to play with or chew on them and possibly choke. Tinsel is often toxic and if ingested, tinsel can cause serious internal issues, such as blockages in the digestive tract. This can lead to vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and, in severe cases, the need for surgical intervention.
- Candle Care: Pets, especially curious cats, might be attracted to the flickering flame of candles. There’s a risk of them getting too close and accidentally knocking over a candle, leading to burns or even starting a fire. If pet gets too close to a lit candle, they may come into contact with hot wax or the open flame, can result in burns or singed fur.
Holiday Plant Hazards:
- Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima): While often considered mildly toxic, poinsettias can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach, leading to mild symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Holly (Ilex spp.): Both American holly and English holly contain compounds that can be toxic to pets. Ingesting holly berries or leaves can result in symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.
- Mistletoe: Mistletoe can be highly toxic, especially the varieties with berries. Ingesting mistletoe can lead to severe symptoms, including difficulty breathing, slowed heart rate, and even death. There are two types of mistletoe: American (Phoradendron spp.) and European (Viscum album). The American variety is more toxic.
- Christmas Trees (Pine Needles): Pine needles, if ingested, can cause irritation and may puncture your pet’s gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, the water in the Christmas tree stand may contain bacteria or preservatives that can be harmful if consumed.
- Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.): Amaryllis plants, especially the bulbs, contain substances that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and tremors in pets.
- Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera spp.): While generally considered non-toxic, the Christmas cactus can cause mild gastrointestinal upset if ingested.
- Lilies: Some types of lilies, such as those commonly found in holiday flower arrangements, can be extremely toxic to cats. Ingesting even small amounts can lead to kidney failure.
The holiday season means there will be a lot of feasting and treats, and our pets love to eat all of these things along with us. However, some of the toxic holiday foods for pets those are common on Christmas:
- Say No to Chocolate: All pet owners know that chocolates are harmful to dogs, but during the Christmas season the abundance of these treats doubles the risk of chocolate poisoning. Keeping the chocolate out of the reach of pets is the only solution for this problem.
- Mind the Bones: While bones are a treat for your dog especially cooked bones their splinters can cause choking or upset stomach. Don’t feed your pet’s bones from the dining table.
- Watch the Onions and Garlic: These ingredients are part of most Christmas dishes but feeding them to your dog will cause serious gastrointestinal upset and damage to red blood cells. Never feed your dogs those dishes that contain these ingredients.
- Alcohol Awareness: Festive drinks and cocktails are the main drinks for holiday celebrations, but alcohol can cause serious damage to your pets. Make sure that all such beverages are out of the reach of your pets. If your pets drank any of the drinks consult your vet immediately.
Joyful Noise, Safe Pets:
There will be a lot of loud noises during the holiday season like music and fireworks. While for humans these sounds are joyous for pets these noises are distressing:
- Firework Frights: Fireworks are common on holidays. However, loud noises can threaten your pets. During these celebrations create a safe space for your pets where they can retreat during these situations.
- Mind the Music: Christmas celebrations are incomplete without loud noises and music but these sounds can be stressful for your pets. Keep attention to their behavior and if you find them distressed create a calm and quiet environment for them.
- Party Precautions: There will be gatherings on holidays and gates and doors will remain open. During this time there is a great risk that your pet will run away, so make sure they have proper identification like microchips or ID tags.
Gifts and Wrappings:
Giving gifts is an important part of the Christmas or holidays and wrapping the gifts can be dangerous for your pets. The material used in the gift material poses great risks to your pets:
- Ribbon and String Caution: Cats are very curious about strings and ribbons. If your pet ingests any of these things it will cause digestive issues or intestinal blockage. So keep this wrapping material out of the reach of your pets.
- Paper Perils: Wrapping papers look very harmless but if ingested by your pets it will cause stomach upset. Take special care when unwrapping gifts to stop the harm.
Traveling Safely with Pets:
Holidays mean a lot of traveling and enjoyment. Whether you want to get a flight or a road trips, it’s important to make sure that your pets remain safe during that time. Here is some pet friendly holiday tips:
- Secure in Transit: When traveling by car use a well-ventilated and secure pet carrier. Make sure that your pet can easily move in the carrier and that there is enough ventilation. If traveling by airline familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations with all the rules regarding transport and make sure that you meet all the requirements.
- Identification Is Key: Your pet must be wearing the identification tags including the collar all the time. This helps a lot when you are traveling to unfamiliar locations.
- Comfort from Home: When going out with pets bring their familiar items along like their toys, bed, or blankets to give them the comfort of home and to protect them from stress. The important thing is to feed them at their regular time and take them out on a regular bathroom schedule. Always take their favorite food along.
- Plan for Pit Stops: If you are going on long-distance drives, take a lot of stops during the drive and allow your pet to stretch their legs and do their business. If you have to go somewhere never leave your pet unattended in the vehicle as it is extremely dangerous.
When you are celebrating the holiday with your friends and family, it’s important to keep in mind the safety and well-being of your pets. There will be a lot of dangers during the holiday season and by staying aware of these dangers and taking proactive measures you can create a joyful environment that you and your family both enjoy. If your pet gets into any problem consult your vet. Here’s to a safe, happy, and pet-friendly holiday season!
About the Author:
Savanna Westwood is the Owner and Founder of The Savvy Sitter, Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, LLC. She has grown up with animals all her life and enjoys spending time with them. Savanna has lived in the Winter Garden and Windermere Area for over 30 years. When she is not taking care of Fur Friends, one can find her reading, practicing archery, riding, and devising ways to provide additional and excellent services to clients. Savanna is a Certified Professional Pet Sitter with Pet Sitter International's CPPS certification and also holds certification in Pet First Aid and CPCR for Pet-Care Professionals.