The holiday season is an exciting time, both for humans and their pets. However, some of the things that are enjoyable for us can be dangerous to your cat or dog. Ordinary holiday decorations, food and plants can lead to a trip to the animal hospital if you aren't careful. It pays for all pet owners to educate themselves about how to keep their pets safe during the holidays.
Holiday Pet Hazards
Holiday foods can pose a health hazard to dogs and cats. Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate and cocoa powder, raisins and grapes, onions and garlic, alcoholic beverages and yeast bread doughs are all dangerous to pets. In addition, holiday plants, such as Christmas cactus, poinsettias and mistletoe are poisonous to cats and dogs. Even the Christmas tree can pose a threat. Dogs, in particular, see the water in the tree stand as a nice drinking bowl.
Common decorations, especially tinsel, can be enticing to cats, but dangerous if swallowed. Our veterinarian recommends that households with cats forego the tinsel and use popcorn boughs or other garlands to finish decorating their tree. Even strings of lights and glass bulbs can be alluring, but hazardous, to pets when they dangle on the lower branches.
Tips for Avoiding Holiday Pet Emergencies
At Deer Park Animal Hospital, our veterinarian stresses vigilance during the holiday season. Avoid a trip to the animal clinic by keeping party food covered or in the refrigerator before and after mealtime. Avoid holiday plants that are toxic or put them in a part of the house where your pets don't have access. If you have a live holiday tree, consider putting Tabasco sauce in the tree water to make it unappealing to pets while not harming the tree.
If you are having a large open house, or if your pet gets frightened when there are a lot of people in the house, consider cat or dog boarding for the night. That way you know that your pet will be safe, secure and calm while you celebrate the holiday with your friends.
Our veterinary clinic offers a full range of medical and wellness care for pets and their owners in Hampton, Newport News and throughout Virginia's Tidewater region.
What measures do you take to keep your pet safe during the holiday season? Have you ever had to make an emergency trip to the animal clinic during the holidays?