There’s something about the holidays that gives us a warm feeling of contentment and appreciation of loved ones, such as our pets. Lights, presents, decorations and food are all common themes to our celebrations, but they’re also what contribute to pets winding up in the hospital during the holiday months. In honor of the close of Hanukkah and the start of the 12 days of Christmas, here are one dozen tips that will allow your furry family members to join in the festivities while staying out of harm’s way.
Hanukkah is the festival of lights and there’s no quintessential holiday symbol like a Menorah. Tradition dictates the candles burn themselves out, however this can pose a potential life threatening danger for both pets and humans. It’s important to keep your pet away from the room containing a lit Menorah, or update your Hanukkah observance by using battery-operated candles that provide a pet-safe holiday glow.
Christmas Tree Cat-tastrophies
Nothing catches a feline’s curiosity more than the lights, ornaments and smells of Christmas trees, often climbing into and around them to learn more. Securely anchor the tree to keep it from knocking over should Fluffy decide she’s the next Tarzan, swinging from its branches. To avoid stomach issues, sweep the needles frequently to avoid them from ending up in animal’s bellies. Try to keep your pet’s furry faces out of the water in the tree stand and don’t add toxic tree preservative products to it.
As mentioned in a previous article, animals are susceptible to choking on toys. Whether it’s your son’s dreidel, daughter’s Polly Pocket or even your dog’s favorite worn toy, your canine has the potential to swallow a small piece that can get lodged in its esophagus, stomach or intestines. Long, stringy toys are often feline’s favorite, but ribbon, yarn and loose little parts can get stuck in their intestines, requiring emergency surgery.
Keep the Beast From the Feast
As mentioned previous safety tips article, human food can often pose a threat to the health and safety of our beloved, furry friends. Chocolate gold coins or a candy-filled advent calendar are especially harmful to animals as consumption of these human sweets can cause severe toxicity. Foods high in sugar and fat can also cause gastrointestinal problems, including vomiting, diarrhea and pancreatitis.
Cats and dogs often mistake baubles for playthings. So, any glass, breakable or edible ornaments should be placed high on your tree, out of the reach of your pets. Ensure that the ornaments you buy are too large to get lodged in your animal’s throat. Shards from broken ornaments are an intestinal blockage hazard and have the potential to injure paws, mouths or other body parts.
Tinsel can be used to give your home a touch of sparkle, but don’t use it if you have curious pets. Ingesting tinsel can potentially block their intestinal track, which leads to severe vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. It can also wrap around their intestines, causing major surgery.
As mentioned in our Thanksgiving article, holiday plants and pets don’t always mix well. Holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested while mistletoe can lead to gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Lilies, although beautiful, if nibbled on by a cat, can cause kidney failure. Opt instead for faux holiday plants or choose a pet-friendly bouquet.
No If, Ands or Nuts
Macadamia nuts and walnuts can cause severe lethargy, fever, vomiting, tremors, joint stiffness and immobility if consumed by animals. Keep bowls of these nuts on high tabletops, out of reach of your pets.
Keep wires and batteries out of paws’ reach. If chewed on, wires can deliver a potentially lethal shock and batteries can cause severe burns to the mouth and esophagus.
No Pinot for the Pup
It is important to never leave your alcoholic beverages unattended in areas where pets can reach them. According to the ASPCA, alcoholic drinks have the potential to be toxic to pets. If consumed, an animal can become severely intoxicated and weak, very depressed or may go into a coma. In severe instances, death from respiratory failure can occur.
Grapes and Onions and Avocados, Oh My!
Keep grapes, raisins, onions, avocados and garlic away from furry mouths. Although delicious and healthy for humans, these foods can cause lethargy, lack of appetite and vomiting for animals.
Animals are sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights and strong smells, so during your New Year’s fireworks it’s best to leave your pets safely indoors, preferably with a radio or TV on to drown out the sounds of the firecracker festivities. Cats are also vulnerable to digesting strings of thrown confetti that can get lodged in their intestines, causing the need for surgery, so be sure to forgo throwing any in homes with felines.
The Central Veterinary Associates (CVA) family would like to wish you and your pets a happy and safe holiday season. Should your furry family members get into any of these items, or anything else to raise concern this winter, contact your local CVA clinic or bring them to our Valley Stream emergency service location open 24/7/365, even during the holidays.