Holidays & Your Pets

While you are busy making your festive plans for Hanukkah and Christmas, please don’t forget to include your pets. The holidays are a time for giving, but there are some things you should not share with your little best friends. Once you know the hazards, a little precaution and prevention will make holidays a happy time for everyone.

Some of the more common holiday hazards include: Bones: The holiday turkey or chicken will leave a lot of tantalizing bones, but don’t feed them to your pet. Beware of steak bones, too. Small bones or bone chips can lodge in the throat, stomach, and intestinal tract or cause lacerations to the digestive tract.

Fat

Those wonderful potato latkes (watch the hot oil!), gravies, and poultry skin can cause severe gastrointestinal upset as well. Chocolate, macadamia nuts, and raisins are also toxic to pets.

Holiday plants

Holly and mistletoe are extremely poisonous when eaten. The lovely poinsettia may not be truly poisonous, but its milky white sap and leaves can certainly cause severe gastric distress. With so many hybrid varieties available each year, the best approach is to keep the plants out of your pet’s reach.

Electrical cords

Holiday lights mean more electrical cords for kittens and puppies to chew. Be sure you have cords secured and out of the way.

Candles

Lighted candles should never be left unattended. Even more importantly, do not leave candles at kitty’s eye level or within puppy’s chewing zone. Anchor candles securely and away from curious faces and feet.

Pine needles

Check around holiday trees and boughs frequently. Ingested pine needles can puncture your pet’s intestines or cause an obstruction.

Holiday tree

Make sure your tree is well secured. If you have a tree-climbing cat or large dog with a happy tail, anchor the top of the tree to the wall, using strong cord or rope. Avoid adding preservatives, sugar, and aspirin to the water in the tree stand.

Ornaments

Sharp or breakable ornaments, dreidels, and even aluminum foil should be kept out of reach. String objects, especially tinsel and ribbons, are to be safeguarded at all costs. They are thin and sharp and can wrap around intestines or ball up in the stomach.

Stress and company

With everyone coming and going, watch out for open doors and sneaky pets. Make sure your pets wear collars and tags and are microchipped in case of escape. Ask guests to keep an eye out for pets under foot and remind them that sometimes your normally friendly dog or cat may be less than willing to deal with enthusiastic children and rooms full of unfamiliar people. Provide a special quiet place with a blanket and fresh water for your pets to retreat to when the festivities get too stressful.