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Nov
12
2015

Having Cat and Dog Friendly Holidays

The holidays are joyous for most of us, but having cat and dog friendly holidays requires a little preparation. For many pets, instead of finding joy, holiday dangers lurk in many places. Take precautions to keep your pets healthy and safe during the holiday season!

Pets and Holiday Food

Food is the cause of many holiday emergencies. To ensure cat and dog friendly holidays in your home, keep everything wrapped and out of your pet’s reach. For many pets, though, even that may not be enough. Some are crafty enough to be able to remove aluminum foil or plastic wrap and cardboard boxes. With this in mind, consider using food storage containers with locking lids and/or keeping your pet out of your dining room or kitchen altogether.

Everyone knows that chocolate is bad for pets. The type of chocolate and amount makes a difference. The darker the chocolate, the more likely it is to cause problems. However, there are many foods that can cause serious illness in pets besides chocolate, so it’s best to keep your pet away from all table scraps for the holidays.

Other foods that can be toxic include xylitol (often in sugar-free candy and gum), macadamia nuts, bread dough, alcohol, and many of the spices used in cooking, amongst other things.  Bones from the meat you’re cooking can get lodged in your pet’s throat, too.

One of the biggest problems is just overeating or your pet eating foods he is not used to. Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, especially in dogs. This can be a very serious condition.  Other pets will have problems with vomiting or diarrhea.

Pets and Holiday Plants

Poinsettia plants have gotten a bad rap for being toxic to pets. The plant is not truly toxic, but it can make your pet feel very ill. The milky sap in it can be irritating and cause drooling or vomiting. It is usually mild, however, and most pets don’t need any treatment. 

On the other hand, mistletoe can be much more serious and is considered toxic. Lilies, holly, and even pine tree needles are also plants to be concerned about. To ensure you're having cat and dog friendly holidays at your house, keep all plants in very high places or, better yet, don’t allow them in your house. Some of them, especially lilies, can be fatal if eaten. 

Pine needles, if eaten, can make your pet sick. The water in the Christmas tree stand is usually not a problem. However, products added to keep your tree fresh, which often contain organic fertiilzers so it lasts longer, can be an issue. Try to find a product that is pet-safe if you're going to have a live Christmas tree around in your pets' holliday home.

Don’t take a chance with any plant this season. Check out any plant that you want to have in your home to see if it’s toxic for your pet in our toxin library.

Pets and Holiday Ornaments and Decorations

Tinsel, ribbons, string, or anything that is thin and long can be a very serious hazard. Cats especially are attracted to these things. They can cause severe damage to the intestines and even death. Tinsel should be avoided when decorating your tree if you have pets in your home, and ribbons and string should be kept safely out of reach.

Many pets are attracted to ornaments, candles, electrical cords, lights, and tree water. Find ways to prevent your pet from drinking the tree water, use chew-proof covers on electrical wires, and keep decorations like candles and lights in hard-to-reach locations! Your pet can also break ornaments or even swallow them, which can lead to an intestinal obstruction. Chewing electrical cords or lights can cause burns on the mouth, fluid in the lungs, or even electrical shock. 

Keep all batteries, especially any small lithium ones, off of tables and counters. Batteries are toxic and, if they are eaten, it will require a trip to the vet.  Candles can also be a potential pet holiday hazard. Besides injuring your pet, they can be knocked over and cause fires. 

The Ultimate Key to Cat and Dog Friendly Holidays: Peace and Quiet

Some pets are stressed from all the activity that happens with people visiting and schedules changing.  Try to keep things as normal as possible to truly make your pets' holiday home safe and comfortable. Create a safe environment where your pet can retreat from the hustle and bustle, can't dart out a door, and won't be bothered by too many guests or small children.

Often the key to cat and dog friendly holidays is as simple as providing a little more TLC and having that place where your pet can opt to get away from it all. For especially frightened pets, however, you might want to consider closing your pet in that safe room when guests are coming over. With people coming and going, your pet might get overwhelmed and confused and dart out the front door.

All articles are reviewed and maintained by whiskerDocs team of veterinary experts.

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