How To Keep Your Pet Healthy and Safe This Holiday Season

It’s in our pets’ nature to be nosy and get into things they shouldn’t—especially when the holidays arrive, bringing all sorts of decorations, treats, and other interesting things to inspect. However, these inspections can go awry if your pet decides to chew or swallow the objects they’re investigating, which could, in turn, lead to a health emergency. To ensure your pet’s health and safety during the hectic holidays, we’ve provided a list of hazards to keep you informed and help you make the holidays an enjoyable time for everyone, including your pet.

Items to Keep Out of Your Pet’s Reach

  • Decorations – These items can cause choking, intestinal blockage, bowel obstruction, internal injury, and/or external injury.
    • Tinsel, ribbon, string
    • Glass ornaments
    • Loose bulbs from light strands
    • Electrical cords and wires
    • Pine boughs/pine needles
    • Candles and open flames
    • Small figurines and other objects that can be easily swallowed
  • Plants – The following plants can cause illness or even death if ingested.
    • Holly
    • Mistletoe (can be fatal)
    • Poinsettias
  • Foods & Beverages – These foods can cause illness (such as vomiting and diarrhea, gastrointestinal upset, renal failure), muscle tremors, and choking.
    • Chocolate (the darker the chocolate, the more toxic)
    • Raisins, grapes, and currants
    • Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks
    • Corn cobs
    • Nuts (Macadamia nuts, pistachios, pecans, walnuts)
    • Turkey and chicken bones
    • Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free gum, mints, and other candies and sweets
    • Anything containing caffeine and alcohol (this includes rum-soaked cakes)
    • Butter, grease from meat, yeast in unbaked dough
  • The Tree ­– If you plan to set up a tree in your home, make sure it is securely anchored into its tree stand. It might be best to keep the tree in a corner, so it has a smaller chance of being toppled over if your cat tries to climb in its branches. Make sure any garland, tinsel, ornaments, and lights are kept off of the lower branches. Keep the Christmas tree water well covered; this mixture of tree sap, water and preservatives can make your pet very sick. Hide electrical cords if possible, or place them where they cannot be easily reached.

If there is any information you need that has not been provided here, feel free to call our hospital at 704-893-2799.