The holidays are something that everyone looks forward to; it is that time of year where you get the chance to spend some time with family and friends; including your pet. In addition, a lot of people take weeks and even months to plan out the holiday season.
This allows time to make sure that there is a perfect Christmas tree, decorations, lights, presents and food in the home. As this will ensure that the holidays will be a success and another memory that will last a lifetime.
Despite all the excitement that the holiday season brings it is important to be aware of some of the hazards to look out for, to ensure your pets safety.
Items like ribbons and bow ties can be extremely dangerous and even sometimes life threatening towards pets. But if you take the right precautions then you can ensure that your pet and you will have a safe, relaxed and enjoy the holidays.
Some common precautions you should take as a pet owner include:
1. The Christmas Tree
A Christmas tree is a staple item that must go up during the holidays; however, they can also harm your pet. They are slightly toxic as they contain oil which can cause drooling and vomiting. Also, if you’re pet happens to digest one of the pine needles it can cause vomiting and gastrointestinal obstruction.
How to pet proof? It is a good idea to raise the tree so it will make it more difficult for your pet to get their paws on it. Also, make sure you hang non-breakable and non-toxic ornaments near the bottom. In addition, it is a good idea to train your pet to stay away from the Christmas tree, which may be the most effective option.
2. Holiday Plants
Many people during the holidays love to decorate their homes by using holiday plants; however, some plants can be a serious health hazard towards pets. For instance, the poinsettia can cause irritation, discomfort, drooling and vomiting. Holly and mistletoe plants can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and heart arrhythmia.
How to pet proof? It is recommended to not have these plants in the home if at all possible. If not then it is a good idea to keep them out of reach; for example, on a high table or a stand. If you’re pet does happen to ingest or come in contact with a poisonous plant make sure you see your veterinarian right away and contact poison control.
3. Be aware of Holiday Sweets
Make sure you put yourself in a habit to not share holiday treats with your pets; even if it is tempting.
Baked good contain the substance xylitol which can cause high blood pressure, vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination, seizures and liver failure.
Baked goods are not the only sweet that you should not give to your dog, but also chocolate (dark, milk or white). This sweet can cause agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate, tremors, seizures and even death.
How to pet proof? It is a good idea not to give any kind of human sweets and/or desserts to your pets. However, it is hard not to have it in the house during the holidays, so make sure that when you have sweets out to put it in a place that would be hard for your pet to reach. In addition, there are many treats that are meant and to be given to your pets, but make sure you do not overdo it.
4. The Outdoors
During the holidays, many pet owners are tempted to keep their pets outdoors when entertaining guests. However, it is important to realize that cold winter weather has its risks just as the warm weather during the summertime. Cold weather can worsen medical conditions that your pet may already have.
In addition, chemicals like antifreeze, if ingested, can cause kidney failure and even death. Also with the cold weather pets can freeze which can cause internal and external damage.
How to be pet proof? During the winter time, it is recommended to keep your pets indoors. However, if you have guests over and do not want your dog around during that time, it is a good idea to put your pet in a separate room for the time being.
Nevertheless, if you have to keep your dog outside for a few hours make sure that there is some kind of shelter outside and when they come back in make sure you wipe down your pet to get rid of any possible chemicals.
5. No Bones Allowed
Many pet owners believe that is safe for them to give the leftover scraps and bones of a turkey to their pet. The meat itself is not dangerous, but the bones and scraps are. If ingested it can cause a splinter and a puncture to internal organs; this can cause vomiting, diarrhea, stomach perforation and painful constipation.
How to be pet proof? It is best not to feed your pet leftover turkey as it is best to stick to their prescribed pet food. If you are tempted to give your pet a bone to chew on, pet stores often carry bones that are meant for animals.
6. Keep Electrical Cords Out of Reach
Electrical cords are just something that pets love to play with and chew on and the bright lights may also attract them. However, this can pose a serious hazard causing burns in the mouth which can cause the difficulty of breathing, seizures and cardiac arrest.
In addition, some pets may develop a buildup in the lungs which can cause heart failure which can be fatal.
How to be pet proof? With regards to electrical cords, it is a good idea to keep them out of reach and out of sight. Also, make sure to unplug electrical cords when you are not using them. There are also protective coverings that you can purchase to help protect your pet.
7. Alcohol is Not Allowed
During the holiday, it is really common for people to enjoy the company of others with some alcoholic beverages. However, it is important to recognize that alcohol is considered to be toxic. And if your pet happens to be thirsty they may be tempted to drink anything that is lying around; including your cocktail. If you’re pet ingests an alcohol drink it can depress the nervous system. It can cause vomiting, disorientation, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, seizures and even death.
How to pet proof? If you happen to have alcohol present in the home during the holidays it is a good idea to keep the drinks out of reach.
8. No Tinsel and Ribbons
During the holidays, many people are tempted to decorate their presents with tinsel and ribbons to add to the holiday spirit. However, these decorations are not toxic but still pose a hazard. They can become a choking hazard, and if swallowed can cause damage to the digestive tract and cause intestinal obstruction.
How to pet proof? It is best not to use tinsel and ribbons on the presents or to train your pet not to go near holiday decorations.
9. Holiday Parties
The holidays are a time where many people to advantage of throwing dinner parties and getting family and friends together. However, this is unusual activity and with different faces that your pet does not usually see. Therefore, your pet may become stressed which can make your pet physically and mentally ill.
How to pet proof? It is a good idea to have a room and/or a quiet space that acts like a safe house so you’re pet can relax and de-stress if needed.
During the winter time, it is always tempting to light a candle to add some warmth and light to the home. However, candles can be a hazard as dogs can actually knock into a burning candle that can cause serious burns. In addition, many candles contain toxic chemicals that can cause your pet to become ill.
How to pet proof? When using candles it is a good idea to place them on a high table and out of reach. There is also the option of using electrical candles too.