Holidays with pets are extra special. We love to buy different things for our furbabies and to add a little something under the Christmas Tree for them to open. It is childlike fun to watch a dog tear into a special Christmas Treat purchased just for them. As special loved ones in our homes, we don’t want to leave pets out, but we do need to be respectful of their needs and the dangers all the “extra” food, decorations, and people the holidays bring to our homes.
Presents Under the Christmas Tree
A friend just told me that her dog woke up gagging in the middle of the night because she had eaten all the candy under the Christmas tree. Even scarier my friend had to reach her hand down Sadie’s (pit bull cross) throat and pull out a wad of candy wrappers lodged there after a mid night munching spree.
Yikes! Attracted by the smell Sadie ate a bunch of candy and almost died!
The ASPC recommends these Tips for Food Safety for Pets During the Holidays (Thank you for supporting this blog by clicking on affiliate links)
Sharing Holidays with Pets: 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? You need to 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, You need to 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. You can surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.
Decorations and the Christmas Tree Pose Threats to Pets
Watching America’s Funniest Home videos, we all laugh when the cat climbs the Christmas Tree and causes it to topple or when the dog races through the house dragging the table cloth with him causing the whole Christmas dinner to end up on the floor. As funny as this appears on video these are real hazards for our pets during the holiday season. Recommendations from the ASPC are:
Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations
- 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 candle out!
- 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.
Holidays Crowds and Children Can Become Overwhelming to Our Pets
One of my beloved boxers used to hide under the bed when any toddler walked into the room. He just found them to unpredictable. During holiday time remember this is your pets home too. When pets get overloaded with too many activities and people they may act out of character. The ASPCA recommends the following precautions to keep both your pets and your guests safe.
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 countdown 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.
Please, please remember not everyone loves you dog or cat the way you do. Make sure to exercise and feed your pets well before guests arrive so that you can have the best possible time and they will too.
Special Pet Safety Warning for Raw Hide Bones
Twelve years ago, a week before Christmas, my beloved Baldric the Boxer choked to death on a rawhide bone. Dogs love these bones but they end up chewing them into little pieces that can become lodged in their throats. Please save a life and use only the baked real bones and toys that do not break into small choking pieces.
It was such a hard Christmas without that sweet boxer boy.
Please make every effort to keep these fur babies safe and happy during this holiday season. For the full article and more safety tips from the ASPCA view here.
Happy Holidays to You and Your Family From the Joyous Family!
Here are few toy suggestions for your pet friends. Remember, a good walk and time with you is the best gift!