The holiday season is filled with so much joy and wonder, it’s easy to forget that it could spell disaster for pets. Danger lurks everywhere for our furry friends, from holiday food to Christmas trees. We’ve compiled this list of warnings and tips to help prevent a holiday disaster at your house.
Keep Pets Safe Throughout the Holiday Season
– Holly is potentially fatal.
– Mistletoe upsets the stomach & can cause heart collapse.
– Sap from Poinsettias can cause mouth blistering.
– Hibiscus can trigger diarrhea.
Dispose of all bows, yarn and curling ribbons to prevent swallowing and intestinal blockage, or strangulation. Labradors and Beagles are especially well known for eating inappropriate objects. Cats may eat them while playing.
Pets are not garbage disposals for holiday left-overs. Any sudden change of diet, even for just one meal, can give your dog or cat stomach pain and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals, whose digestive systems are often more delicate and nutritional requirements more strict.
While a little turkey or chicken won’t harm your pet, be very careful of cooked bones which can splinter and cause intestinal blockage or internal lacerations. Pork bones can also wreak havoc. The FDA recently advised that all bones, cooked or raw, be avoided.
Beware of simmering potpourri or potpourri oil. Most potpourri liquids contain natural or essential oils, which if ingested can cause vomiting, stomach upset, diarrhea, weakness, and possibly liver damage. Some products also contain cationic detergents, in which case the symptoms tend to be much worse. In most cases received by the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center, cats are often exposed to potpourri oils by rubbing against leaky bottles or pots containing the oil, or from spilling the oil containing pots over themselves.
Aluminum foil that has been wrapped around meat and disposable baking pans might be attractive to a pet, but do not let your companion near these — ingestion of aluminum foil may cause vomiting, intestinal blockage or even more serious problems.
Resist the temptation to tie holiday ribbons around your pet’s neck. The ribbon can twist and tighten, causing choking or strangulation. Pets can hang themselves if the ribbon gets caught on an object.
Do not use moth balls to deter your cat from climbing the Christmas tree, digging in your holiday plants or scaling garlands. They are highly toxic and if even a little is ingested it could have serious consequences.
A Christmas tree should stand in a flat, wide base. You might also want to anchor the tree with fishing line tied to drapery rods, a ceiling or wall hook. Cats often see trees as fabulous climbing posts. If your kitty shows a penchant for this activity, decorate with animal-safe items such as dried flowers, pine cones or fabric and wood ornaments. You also might want to consider putting the tree in a room with doors that close.
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