With the holiday season comes a host of warm, cozy changes in our homes that evoke joyful memories and provide comfort during cold months. But while most of these decorations and additions fill us with the holiday spirit, many pet owners are unaware that they can often put dogs and cats in dangerous situations.
It is good to know the ways many holiday staples can endanger our pets so that we can either monitor our pets around them, or skip them altogether. This year, before you deck the halls, make sure your pets are safe and sound by exercising care around these seven common holiday pet dangers.
1. Trees (Real or Fake)
Whether you prefer a fragrant noble fir or a tasteful artificial tree, be aware that curious pets may try to swallow needles or fallen pieces, and these can cause nausea, sickness or a blockage. Cats and dogs also enjoy drinking the water at the base of a tree, and in doing so they may unknowingly swallow lots of needles. The water itself can be nauseating as well.
As some pets may enjoy tugging on or climbing the tree, the fall risk poses danger, too. Always be sure that your tree is properly secured, and if your pet simply won’t stay away from the needles and water, consider setting up a barrier around the base, or skipping the tree altogether.
As with other holidays, Christmas time is a magnet for chocolates! Especially if you entertain, your home may be likely to have trays or bowls of chocolates for guests around the house. Always make sure these treats are out of reach because they are very toxic to dogs and cats and can cause serious health problems or even death if consumed by your pets.
3. Poultry Bones
After you eat that delicious roast turkey leg at Christmas dinner, your four-legged friend will likely be begging for the bone to gnaw on. It seems harmless, but poultry bones can be very dangerous for dogs to chew on and pose a choking hazard when they break into smaller pieces. Stock up on some dog safe bones and treats so they don’t feel left out of the festivities!
4. Sugary Treats
It isn’t just chocolate that can be hazardous to pets. Sugary cookies, breads and other desserts are not good for your pet and you should avoid using them as treats.
5. Holiday Plants
Whenever you choose plants for your home, you want to make sure they are pet safe for the curious dog or cat who may nibble on leaves or flowers. This is especially true around Christmas time with the many festive plants which are toxic if ingested. Look out for mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, and other decorative holiday plants. Make sure they are out of reach or avoid them if that isn’t possible.
Candles are lovely around the holidays. But they can be very hazardous with pets in the home. There is the risk of both the pet getting burned and of your home catching fire if a candle is knocked over. Keep candles high and out of reach, or spring for some decorative electric options. Added bonus: Who doesn’t love remote-controlled lighting?
7. Stringed Lights, Tinsel & Ribbons
Tree decorations such as tinsel and stringed lights are responsible for many Christmas time pet incidents. Dogs and especially cats love to chew through stringed lights which can seriously injure them, as well as create fire risks.
Other stringed decors such as tinsel, ribbons and bows can be swallowed, risking a dangerous blockage. Be very careful when choosing each of these decorative items.
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