Home for the Holidays: Safety Tips to Keep Your Pet Healthy this Holiday Season

The best part of the holiday season, may also be the most dangerous for our beloved pets. New decorations, new scents and unusual items lying around can create trouble for our four-legged friends. Tinsel on the doorway, chocolate under the tree or even a turkey bone from the trash can cause major issues and require veterinary intervention.  However, there are preventative measures you can take to make sure your pet is protected.

Preventative Measures

Veterinarians see the same trends every year during the holidays, so here are some ways to avoid the risks and keep your pet home for the holidays:  

Keep them away from human food and drink.

The holidays are prime for cooking with pet-unfriendly ingredients. Pets love turkey but it can lead to vomiting or diarrhea. And though it may be common sense, keep dogs and cats away from those tumblers filled with holiday cheer. Alcohol (and desserts with alcohol in them) can cause weakness, coma and in extreme cases - death. The best way to keep your pets away from human food is to keep them out of the kitchen and make sure trash cans are tightly sealed so they can’t get in. For a complete list of foods that are poisonous to pets, click here.

Deck the High Parts of the Halls

Glass globes and other holiday decorations can seem like new toys to pets, but as dogs chew, they can lacerate their gums and throats or ingest small pieces that can lead to serious problems for their digestive tracts. Also be sure to keep electrical wiring out of the reach of pets to keep them from chewing on it. Likewise, never leave holiday candles in an unsupervised room.

Keep the Mistletoe up High

If your pets nibble on the holiday greenery, the results can run from mild illness and irritation to kidney failure or worse. The poisoning effects of pine needles, mistletoe and holly are all fairly similar, ranging from vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, erratic behavior, and even death.
Keep pets away from the Christmas tree, and be sure to secure it against toppling over, just in case. Consider installing a barrier to keep pets away, or spraying the tree with a repellent such as bitter apple to keep cats from climbing.

When to Visit Your Vet

Watch for signs your pet may have accidentally ingested a toxin or hazard.  Signs can range from lethargy, drooling and muscle weakness to vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, twitching or seizures. If you notice these signs, contact your 24-hour emergency veterinary facility immediately.

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