May All Your Holidays be Merry and Pet-Friendly

When the whirlwind of the holiday season descends on your household, it’s easy to forget about your pet in all the chaos. You just want to get that turkey cooked, the gifts bought and wrapped, and the house decked out in holiday splendor before your relatives arrive. Our animal hospital understands your feelings completely, but we also want to help you keep tabs on what’s most important. As part of the family, your pet needs to be part of your holiday plans, too! Read on for essential holiday pet safety tips and helpful reminders.

Pet Safety Tips

Food for Thought

While certain people foods may not harm your pet, it’s generally best if you avoid giving them table scraps altogether. Handouts can foster bad habits and behaviors in pets, and they simply aren’t necessary. Furthermore, the following foods can make your pet sick or cause choking, bowel obstruction, and/or internal damage:

  • Meat bones – that includes turkey, chicken, ham, steak, duck, etc. Keep bones out of your pet’s reach!
  • Any type of chocolate – dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cocoa powder, and baker’s chocolate.
  • Vegetables in the allium family, which include garlic, onions, shallots, scallions (green onions), leeks, and chives.
  • Walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, and cashews are a no-no.
  • Dishes such as sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, or anything else that contains nuts, sugar substitutes, whipped cream, and nutmeg.
  • Candies, cookies, and other baked goods.

Foods that are safe in small quantities include:

  • Plain, unseasoned boneless turkey or chicken (no gravy)
  • Plain carrots, cooked or uncooked
  • Green beans (no butter or seasoning)
  • Plain sweet potato or plain canned pumpkin

Overall, we recommend limiting your pet to their own food and treats.

Decoration Dangers

Holiday decorations go a long way toward making your home look warm and festive, but they can also make enticing targets for curious pets. Take care with these holiday decoration staples:

  • Christmas tree – real or fake, keep your tree in a corner where it’s out of the way and less likely to be knocked over. If your tree is real, know that the needles and fir tree oils can be toxic for your pet. Needles can also cause internal injury if swallowed.
  • Candles and open fireplaces – any fire hazard is going to be risky, and therefore should be avoided if at all possible.
  • Holly and mistletoe – these iconic Christmas plants are very toxic for both dogs and cats. Poinsettias, once thought to be harmful, may only cause minor stomach upset or drooling if eaten.
  • Tinsel and tinsel garland can be choking hazards; avoid using them if possible.
  • Strands of lights can make any room look magical, but the electrical cords and bulbs can cause problems for your pet if they’re chewed. Keep dangling cords high up out of reach or wrap them in double-sided tape to prevent chewing.

Keep Your Gifts Secure

String, twine, ribbon, and yarn are tempting playthings for cats and dogs, but they can cause choking and intestinal obstruction if swallowed. Any edible gifts should be placed on a shelf or in a closet where your pet can’t reach them. Additionally, make sure to throw away any used gift wrap that your pet might try to chew or eat!

If you have any questions or concerns about handling the holidays with your pet, give us a call at (773) 327-4446. We would be happy to help!