Well it’s that time of the year again. The holiday season will be here before you know it. As we festoon our homes with holiday decorations, seasonal plants and entertain family and friends, let’s be sure to remember that some of our seasonal favorites are hazardous to the four-legged members of our families.
Foods served this time of year tend to be higher in fat and very rich. While these foods help make this time of year special, they also can cause real problems for our pets. I’m always ready for the phone call after the holidays when someone’s dog has gotten into the turkey pan and is now ill and vomiting because of acute pancreatitis. In addition, holiday beverages containing alcohol are palatable to pets but real trouble if ingested.
Other holiday hazards include:
- Christmas trees (needles, stagnant or treated water in the tree stand), Christmas tree lights (electrocution), ornaments, tinsel, and garland (choking and/or intestinal impaction hazards); even the Christmas packages under the tree can lead to trouble if they contain items that smell appealing.
- Another holiday call I received was a cat that was vomiting because he had swallowed a length of tinsel causing a linear foreign body and intestinal blockage.
- Holiday plants including: Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and hibiscus are toxic to pets.
- Chocolate, especially dark or baker’s chocolate is harmful.
- The oils in a potpourri pot are harmful if ingested.
- Another consideration is the effect all the holiday company may have on our pets. New faces, smells and voices in the home can be stressful for some pets. Make sure they have a safe place to go. In addition, traveling with your pet presents its own set of hazards.
As we make our way from Thanksgiving to Christmas, we need to remember that some of the decorations and holiday foods common to this season can be hazardous to our pets. A little pre-planning and pet-proofing can make the holidays stress-free and enjoyable for everyone.
The point here is not to damper the holiday spirit but to avoid an unnecessary trip to your veterinarian. Knowledge is power.
Be safe and enjoy the holidays.
Additional information on hazards for pets: