Articles Main Page  
    Holiday Pet Safety  

The holiday season can get pretty hectic and with the decorations and extra goodies around the house, there's a lot your pet can find to get into. Here are a few safety tips to help keep your pets safe and happy during the festivities.

Christmas Trees
Firmly secure the tree in its stand and consider wire or twine ties attached to the wall to help secure the tree. You’ll want to make sure the tree doesn’t topple over if or more likely when kitty tries to climb the tree.

Dogs and cats will often try to drink water from the reservoir in the stand. The sap from the tree itself may irritate your pet's stomach and preservatives added to the water may be toxic. Devise a cover to fit around the base of the tree — even a towel wrapped around the trunk covering the stand will do.

Ornamentation is very attractive, especially to kittens and cats but may be deadly. The tinsel, ribbon and glitter can cause intestinal blockages. Protect your cat by placing these items high enough to be out of reach. Packages under the tree may offer the same threat — the ribbons are just too hard to resist and kitty may end up chewing on them while playing.

Those Wonderful Goodies
Holidays are the time for lots of baking and receiving of baked gifts. These items smell just wonderful to your pet. Your dog may help himself to the candy, cookies or part of the holiday meal if you aren't looking. Eating “people food” may lead to indigestion, diarrhea or worse. Remember, items containing chocolate can poison a dog, even if it is a small amount.

Remains of the holiday meal left on countertops, tables and even in the garbage, will entice your pets. If there's a way to get to it, be assured your dog will certainly try. Bones from turkey, a roast or ham may splinter if eaten. Older garbage may even contain enough bacteria to poison a pet. Be careful where the trash is held while waiting to be disposed.

Other Decorations
Plants, especially poinsettias, are often used for decoration in November and December. Some of these plants contain toxins that can irritate your pet’s gastrointestinal tract if chewed on or eaten. Eating enough of some plants may poison your dog or cat. In some cases it may be the leaves, in others the stem, berries or roots. Your veterinarian can help guide you or you can do a bit of research at the library or online to see if any of your holiday plants may be harmful to your pets.

Taking a few minutes to set some family guidelines and spot potential safety hazards could keep this holiday season from having serious consequences for your four-footed family member.

This article is provided as a general overview of the topic. Always consult your veterinarian for specific information related to diseases or medical care for pets.

back to Articles main