Holiday Dangers for Pets

The holidays bring a very exciting time filled with good company, great food and high spirits. With all of the excitement, decorations and Christmas carols come some pretty dangerous times for pets. Here are some tips to help keep your furry friend happy and healthy through the holiday season.

  • Hang fragile ornaments higher on the tree, where your pet has no access to them
  • Sugar-free items containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be deadly to pets. Ingestion causes a dangerous drop in blood sugar, which can result in vomiting, lethargy, weakness, collapse, or seizures. Signs appear as quickly as 15 to 30 minutes after ingestion, but may be delayed for up to 12 hours. In some dogs, liver failure can occur up to 72 hours after ingesting xylitol.
  • If you use a water additive in your live tree, take measures to keep your pet from drinking it.
  • Keep goodies such as chocolate out of reach of your pet.
  • If you have seasonal plants such as a poinsettia, keep it in a room that your pet does not have access to. These plants, though beautiful, are very toxic to pets.
  • Tinsel and ribbon is never a good idea if you have curious animals. It is very harmful when ingested and may require surgery to remove.
  • Please ensure that any spilled antifreeze is cleaned up immediately.
  • If you decide to let your pet partake in a holiday dinner, please ensure that there are NO bones or fat trimmings! Although it’s tempting to feed your pet fatty leftovers or bones, it’s best to avoid this practice. Possible consequences are serious and include inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), broken teeth, severe vomiting, diarrhea, or a blockage of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines — which would require emergency surgery.
  • Although we don’t know why it happens, eating grapes or raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. We don’t know how much a dog can consume in order for it to be dangerous, so it’s best to keep these items far from reach and inform your guests about the potential danger. Signs that your dog may have eaten grapes or raisins include vomiting, followed by lethargy, loss of appetite, increased thirst, and increased urination.
  • Hide all cords and candles.Pets often want to chew on electrical cords and lights, which can cause electrocution, so cover or hide all cords. Hide candles as well, because a dog or cat can knock them over and cause burns or a house fire.
  • Keep liquid potpourri out of reach. Both cats and dogs can be attracted to the smell of potpourri. It takes only a few licks of these oils to cause serious chemical burns.
  • Consider your pet’s stress and anxiety. If you are having guests over and have an anxious or nervous pet, consider keeping the animal isolated in a quiet room with food, water, and a cozy bed. You can also speak to your veterinarian about medications that may help relieve anxiety.
  • Prepare your guests. It may seem unnecessary, but guests, especially if they are not pet owners, may unknowingly place your pet in danger.  Make sure to show them where the “approved” treats are located, request that they keep luggage closed to prevent a curious pet from investigating it, and instruct them to not leave medications on tables.