Holiday Safety Tips for Fur Babies
It’s that time of year again…Christmas! Extra treats, new toys, Christmas carols, glorious fluffy snow, and pet parents torturing their pets with silly antlers!
Unfortunately, Christmas can also bring some serious, evenly deadly holiday specific hazards for our fur babies. I’m sure you’d rather be enjoying some eggnog and Aunt Martha’s fruit cake than visiting the emergency vet. Ok, maybe not the fruit cake. Protect your fur baby and your holiday cheer with these pet safety tips.
- BE AWARE OF CHOCOLATE! This heavenly smelling concoction is irresistible to most of us including our pets. Even a small amount can be toxic to pets though. Chocolate contains theobromine which attacks a pet’s central nervous system and can lead to death. Make sure to keep all chocolate safely out of reach of curious 4 legged family members. This goes for gift wrapped chocolate as well. Mine is kept on the top of a closet with doors secured. If your dog does get hold of some, call your vet immediately with the type of chocolate and amount consumed! All chocolate is dangerous, but the darker the chocolate the more toxic it is. Your dog may need their stomach pumped and to be monitored closely by their vet.
- Have cats? Then don’t have tinsel! Cats are notorious for eating tinsel. Unfortunately, tinsel can cause serious intestinal blockage which usually requires surgery. It’s just not worth the risk.
- No sweets or baked goods. They can be too rich for pets and upset their stomachs. Many sweets also have artificial sweetener in them which can lead to liver failure and death in dogs.
- Be wary of holiday plants. Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, holly, and poinsettias can cause health issues for pets.
- Try to keep cords out of reach or at least unplug them when not around to supervise pets. Electrical cords look like fun chew toys to our 4 legged family members and can deliver a dangerous shock if chewed through.
- I don’t know of too many dogs who want to climb a Christmas tree, but cats are a whole other story. Trees must look like beautiful climbing posts to them. Secure your tree to the ceiling with fishing line, so your cat can’t knock it over and risk injury in the process of falling. Even if your dog doesn’t climb the tree, a strong tail wag can topple it over.
- Also keep sharp or breakable ornaments towards the top of the tree and out of reach of wagging tails and curious noses. You don’t want broken pieces being swallowed or stepped on by little paws.
- If you have a real Christmas tree, supervise your pets around it and keep the needles picked up. Block off the tree or pet when no one’s home. If ingested, the sharp needles can puncture your pet’s intestines.
- Pets have sensitive stomachs and new, richer foods can wreck havoc on them. Unless you enjoy dealing with your pet having diarrhea or vomiting, limit the table scraps. You don’t have to completely exclude your pet from partaking in your holiday dinner…just be smart. Suki gets a few pieces of plain turkey or ham on top of her food. She does not get gravy, biscuits, cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc. She’s still part of our dinner without any ill side effects.
- Keep burning candles supervised or out of reach of curious pets. It doesn’t take much to knock them over or too curious nose to get burned.
- Don’t allow your pets to drink the water in the tree stand. Bacteria and tree needles can accumulate in standing water.
- No alcohol! Inevitably, there’s that one relative who has a few too many and thinks it will be funny to watch a drunk pet. Alcohol is toxic to pets! It can slow down their heart rate and breathing and ultimately lead to cardiac arrest. Make sure your guests know alcohol is off limits to your pets.
- Watch the door! I can’t stress this enough. Many pets are lost during the holidays because they bolted out an open door. During the holidays, friends and family come and go frequently, and they may not be used to watching the door for fur ball escapees. Make sure your pet is secure before the door opens.
Suki & I wish everyone and their fur babies a very Merry Christmas!