Holiday Pet Dangers

It’s that time again! Big family feasts, gift exchanges, cookie decorating and all the magic that is the holiday season. It is easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget about how your pets fit into the big holiday parties. Below we have outlined a few holiday pet dangers and how to keep your pets safe.

Thanksgiving is up first and with Thanksgiving of course comes the turkey! Turkey is a staple of most Thanksgiving feasts, but remember that Turkey should not be fed to your pets. As with most human food, turkey (even in small amounts) can cause a serious condition in pets called pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain and requires veterinary treatment. To avoid a trip to the emergency veterinary hospital on Thanksgiving, do not offer pets any table scraps. Also, take special precautions with the carved turkey carcass, those bones can present additional dangers to your pets. Clear and discard any food scraps promptly. And be sure to dispose in a secure trash container.

This of course goes for all desert items as well! Us pet owners all know that chocolate presents a serious holiday pet danger, but every year pets are rushed to the hospital after ingesting chocolate. Keep all chocolate out of the reach of your pets!

After Thanksgiving, the holiday parties really kick into high gear. When hosting guests around the holidays, be sure to make special arrangements for your pets. If your pets are especially nervous around guests, boarding them at a safe, secure boarding facility may be an easy solution. Or if you plan to keep your pets home, be sure that they have a safe, quiet place to go if they are feeling overwhelmed. It is also very important to be aware of entrances and exits to ensure that your pets don’t slip out unnoticed. Keep microchip and license information up to date to ensure that if they do manage to get out, that they can be returned promptly. 

Holiday decorations, like Christmas trees, can also present holiday pet dangers. Securing a Christmas tree to the ceiling or door jam, can prevent the tree from crashing down if your pet decides to climb or rub up against the tree. The water under the tree should be monitored as well. Fertilizers and/or water preservatives may cause stomach upset if ingested. Tree decor like tinsel should be avoided with pets. Those shiny, silvery strings are enticing to play with, but can become wrapped around the base of the tongue or in the intestines if swallowed, resulting in an emergency situation requiring surgery. Holiday lights and lit candles are also common holiday pet dangers. 

There are many seasonal plants that may cause gastrointestinal upset, or other potentially life threatening effects to pets if ingested. Some of these festive favorites may include holly, mistletoe and lillies. If your pet ingests anything and you are unsure of the toxicity, consult the ASPCA’s Poisonous Plants list, or call their Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435.

The holidays are a time for gathering together. A time to celebrate life’s many blessings. Avoid holiday pet dangers, so that time can be spent together and not in the waiting room at an emergency hospital. As always, be prepared. Whether you are staying in town, or traveling this holiday season, keep your pet’s medical information with you and ensure that you are familiar with local veterinary hospitals and emergency clinics in case of an emergency. Happy Holidays!