dog wearing santa hat

This holiday season may look a lot different this year, but those of us lucky enough to live with pets can continue to enjoy their companionship during this time. However, without an ever-increasing awareness of the threats to holiday pet safety they can be at risk of various illnesses and injuries. Stay out of the ER this year by getting up to speed on protecting your best bud.

Choking Hazards & GI Obstructions

Just like you pet-proofed your home before (or shortly after) you brought them home for the first time, holiday pet safety involves scrutinizing everything brought into the house. Getting down on the floor can reveal loads of things you didn’t see before. To decrease the risk of choking or gastrointestinal obstruction, be sure your pet cannot get their jaws around any of the following:

  • Bones (turkey, chicken, ham hock, etc. can all splinter and cut the soft tissue of the mouth)
  • Batteries
  • Ribbons and bows
  • Tinsel
  • Wrapping paper
  • Plushy stuffing
  • Artificial berries or greenery
  • Candles
  • Dreidels
  • Balloons
  • Toothpicks

If you notice that your pet is choking, quickly intervene. Signs may include pawing at the mouth, gagging, increased salivation, coughing and blueing of the gums. Please seek emergency help

Poisoning Risks

Poinsettias have a terrible reputation for harming pets during the holidays. Given that they cause stomach irritation (or worse) when ingested, these plants should also be given an equally wide berth:

  • Lilies
  • Mistletoe
  • Holly
  • Christmas cactus
  • Azaleas
  • Hydrangeas
  • Ivy

Foods to Avoid

Chances are there’s going to be lots of temptation in the kitchen and around the dining table. It’s best to be cautious regarding the following toxic foods:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Raisins/grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Sugar-free candy (Xylitol is extremely toxic to pets)
  • Anything excessively rich and fattening (dark meat, butter, deep fried foods, etc.)

As a general rule, do not offer (or make available) holiday goodies to your pet. Make a special plate for them that includes healthy fruits and vegetables. 

A pet poisoning often requires immediate veterinary intervention. Please don’t delay providing help to your four-legged friend.

Other Entanglements

Holiday pet safety should include consideration of lights, extension cords, and other wires. Be sure to hide or tape them down to the floor. Similarly, brace your tree to the back wall or ceiling in order to prevent injury to a climbing pet. 

Broken ornaments can cause painful lacerations. Always pick up fallen pine needles, and keep the tree stand water covered so your pet cannot drink it.

Holiday Pet Safety

It happens every year when a pet finds another threat to holiday pet safety that their owner didn’t notice or prevent. It happens, which is why our staff is always here for you at King’s Trail Animal Hospital.