The holiday season is a time to celebrate with colorful decorations, delicious foods, and family and friends. With a few helpful tips from Seattle Humane, you can include your furry family members in the fun and ensure they stay safe and enjoy themselves, too!
Holiday and party foods can be bad news for your pet. Tell your guests the food rules for your pets. Rich, spicy or fatty food – or anything your pet is not accustomed to – can cause problems ranging from stomach upset to severe pancreatitis. Even healthy pets can require a trip to the emergency vet if they ingest too much rich, fatty food. Make sure you have healthy treats and reduce their food at mealtime accordingly.
Additionally, don’t leave the candy out! Chocolate can be fatal to animals, especially cats and small dogs. Alcoholic beverages are also toxic to pets and uncooked meat, poultry, fish and bones are hazardous.
Bulbs, Tinsel, Ribbons and Wrapping Paper
Pets may be drawn to holiday decorations that can cause them harm. Glass bulbs may be shiny and attractive but they are dangerous if shattered and eaten or stepped on. Even tinsel, ribbons and wrapping paper can create serious digestive problems if swallowed.
Never leave lit, unattended candles within reach of your pet – including the tail to avoid burns and fire. Keep tablecloths and table runners from hanging too low to the ground to avoid getting tangled in a pet’s feet or tempt a happy dog to grab an end and pull!
Holiday plants are festive, but if eaten, many can cause gastrointestinal upset and even seizures, coma and death. Mistletoe and Holly are considered moderately to severely toxic to pets and should be kept well out of reach or avoided altogether. If your pet starts vomiting, has diarrhea or abdominal pain, excessive drooling, tremors or seizures — consult your veterinarian immediately. Poinsettia plants and Christmas trees can be mildy toxic, depending on the amount eaten, but most pets won’t consume enough to experience discomfort.
Lighting and Electrical Cords
Decorations with lights and electrical cords, may be tempting to the inquisitive dog or cat, so don’t leave exposed cords where your pup or kitten plays. You can enclose cords in regular PVC pipe from the hardware store or plastic casing from computer or household supply stores. Products are available at pet supply stores, such as Bitter Apple, can be sprayed on cords to make them taste bad. If you suspect your pet has chewed an electrical cord, check his mouth for burns and watch for difficulty breathing. If any symptoms develop, consult your veterinarian right away.
If you are going out or can’t supervise your pet, unplug electrical cords in the pet’s area. Kittens and some dogs are climbers so be sure to secure lamps that can be knocked over. Replace burned-out light bulbs right away. If you don’t have a bulb, leave the burned-out bulb in place temporarily or unplug the lamp. The light socket is electrically charged and dangerous on a lamp that is plugged in without a light bulb in the socket.
You know your pet best, so you can anticipate how they will react to holiday visitors. Make a space available in a quiet room, away from commotion and front door traffic, and provide classical music, a soft bed, water, food and toys. Adding a piece of your clothing to the bed can provide comfort. Using a pet gate to separate them from the main foot traffic or having them stay at a friend’s house during a party may be best.