Holiday Hazards for Pets

As we’re getting ready for the holidays, we really do have to keep in mind that many of the things we do and foods we make are hazardous to our loved ones. The furry ones — not the human ones, although I know many families who feel the holidays are hazardous to their own health. 😆

PupKittenNo, we have to be careful with the furballs who really don’t understand that chewing on the cord leading to that big, brightly lit tree could cause an electrical shock, which can range from a minor zap to instant death. Those pretty, blinking lights are a huge temptation to curious pups and kittens. To be on the safe side, you should make sure that all electrical cords are in good condition and out of reach. If you cannot keep the cords off the floor, check regularly for any sign of chewing or fraying. Using a grounded three-prong extension cord as a safety precaution isn’t a bad idea.

X-Mas TreeThen there’s the Christmas tree itself. Its not uncommon for a poorly secured tree to fall on a rambunctious pet as they race around or try to climb it. Chewing on pine needles can cause GI irritation and perforation. If you’re sticking with a real tree, a Douglas fir or white pine is your best bet. The needles won’t stick to your pet’s paws and they tend to stay on the tree longer. If you have glass ornaments, you might want to hang those higher. An ornament might look like a ball to be played with, but a broken ornament will do some major damage to a dog or cat’s mouth. Also, some Christmas trees may contain additives and preservatives, which leech into the water and can be toxic if ingested. I don’t think I really have to get into the damage that tinsel, yarn and ribbon can cause if ingested. Let’s just say that it can involve intestinal tract blockage and/or possible perforations.

HollyRemember that many holiday plants can be poisonous to you pet. These include mistletoe, poinsettia, lilies and holly (the berries are especially toxic).

And then there’s foods and sweets. Small turkey and ham bones can lodge in the throat, stomach and digestive tract which would require surgery to remove. Plus, any fats and gravies you might add to your pets’ food can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Most pet owners know that chocolate is a huge no-no for pets, but do you know that the darker chocolates are the worse? Resist putting gift wrapped chocolates under a tree. A dog can sniff that out in about three seconds flat. Remember that any cookies left out for Santa shouldn’t have chocolate in them … or Macadamia nuts, for that matter. These can make a dog sick, and can even cause temporary paralysis. Keep those candy dishes covered to thwart the temptation of playful paws fishing them out.

We’ve been lucky in that the cat has little interest in the tree other than making herself comfortable on the tree rug and occasionally swiping a bow from a package. This will be the dog’s second Christmas with us, but so far he’s shown little or no interest in the holiday decorations. So let’s keep our furry family safe over the holidays. Take those few extra precautions and perhaps everyone will have a wonderful holiday season.

About Liz Kreger

Liz Kreger writes science fiction/romances and to date, has two books published by Samhain Publishing ... FORGET ABOUT TOMORROW and PROMISE FOR TOMORROW. Liz is presently branching out to contemporary paranormals and is experimenting with urban fantasy.
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4 Responses to Holiday Hazards for Pets

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    We had to stop putting tinsel on the tree when we had the cat. And I’d been given a poinsettia from a co-worker for Christmas one year, and had to give it to another co-worker, because of Belle. The sacrifices we make for them… But she’s worth it!

    • Liz Kreger says:

      Yeah, tinsel was one of the first things we had to nix when we got my first cat. found out the semi-hard way that he ate one when it passed through him and … uh … came out the other end — halfway. 😯 It was disgusting. Removed the rest of the tinsel immediately.

  2. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Liz,

    One of my cats adores eating all the ribbons so we had to stop putting those on our gifts and one year we put cat treats hanging off the lower branches to stop them from climbing up the tree!

    They are such fun to have around at this time though. 🙂
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Looking for people to join my street team

    • Liz Kreger says:

      Too funny, Dale. I remember when Nik was a young cat and my mom went to put water in the tree. She straightened and found two green eyes staring at her. She screamed … the cat went flying … and I laughed so hard that I nearly peed myself. 😆

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