dog with antler costume

The winter months already seem to be in full swing as we prepare for the big holiday season. Shopping for gifts, visiting family and friends, and preparing for those big traditional feasts define this time of year. But do you have your pet’s safety on the to-do list of priorities?

Holidays send many pets to animal emergency hospitals for a variety of reasons. Ingesting a toxic treat or a bite of mistletoe or escaping out of an open gate are some of the many risks to our pets. The team at Volunteer Veterinary Hospital want you and your furry one to have the most amazing season ever, and that includes holiday pet safety.

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Don’t you just love all of the decorations and *bling* that come with this time of year? Unfortunately, little paws also are drawn to these decorations. And just look at all of the food on the table and in tempting gift baskets! The things we love can sometimes pose dangers for pets. 

Here are some things to be on the watch for.

Poinsettias, mistletoe, lilies, and other toxic bouquets – These holiday plants are toxic to our fur friends and can even be fatal when ingested in certain quantities. Look for pet friendly plants by checking at the ASPCA’s list of nontoxic plants, or buy your favorite plants made of silk or other artificial materials. They look just as pretty as the real thing, and are pet safe. 

Homemade and edible ornaments – These cute decorated flour ornaments may be something you want to show off on the tree, but any edible ornament is going to find its way into your pet’s mouth. Homemade ornaments or those with little bells, jewels, and other small pieces can be ingested by your pet. Stick with ornaments that are too large to be eaten and avoid any food-based ornaments, and that includes popcorn on a string.

Holiday foodsWatch for food toxins like chocolate, macadamia nuts, raisins, grapes, and currants, onions and garlic, alcohol, and Xylitol (found in baked goods and sweets), as these are all toxic to your pet. Another problem your pet could encounter is pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammatory condition linked to fatty or rich foods, like gravy. Avoid indulging your pet and instead give them a small amount of diced turkey without skin, steamed green beans, or mashed yam. 

Holiday decor – Most cats are fascinated by string, tinsel, and curling ribbon found on gifts. Unfortunately, these pose big problems when eaten. Remove all string-like decor, as well as gifts wrapped with ribbon and string. Dogs, too, love to investigate shiny things, like glass ornaments and decorations on tabletops. Choose plastic ornaments to avoid broken glass, and switch to battery-operated candles for great ambience without the singed whiskers.

Don’t Forget the Hustle and Bustle

During the holiday madness, don’t forget to take time to notice your four-legged friends. They still need our attention and those daily walks and snuggles to stay healthy and happy.

We hope these holiday pet safety tips will come in handy during your busy season. If we can answer any additional questions about keeping your pet safe, or if you would like to make an appointment, please call us!

Happy Holidays!