Celebrating Christmas with your Furry Family Members
Much of what makes Christmas so fun and festive can be harmful to our pets. Nothing will ruin a holiday faster than an unfortunate and preventable tragedy. Trim the tree, hang the stockings, and follow these tips to keep your pet safe and your holiday jolly this Christmas Season.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of potential perils for your pet this holiday season. When in doubt, as with children, keep out of reach.
Holiday DecorationsChristmas Trees
Curious climbing cats can topple a Christmas tree causing not just a mess, but also a fire hazard. Broken glass ornaments or lights knocked off the tree by a pattering paw can give you or your pet a nasty cut. Pets can choke on tinsel or get a bowel obstruction from ingesting it. Even worse, tinsel can actually cut the intestines! Drinking the water from the base of the tree can cause illness. Puppies can be electrocuted by chewing electrical cords. Secure trees to the wall with hooks and fishing line. Cover the tree stand with a skirt. Skip the tinsel, and don't leave chewers unattended with plugged in electrical cords.
The plants that bring us Christmas Cheer are toxic to pets who like to snack on them. This includes Poinsettias, Holly, and Mistletoe. Decorate with fake plants, or keep them out of your pet's reach.
Flickering candles bring warmth on a cold winter's night. But, a wagging tail can easily topple a burning candle setting the pet and the house on fire. Avoid both by keeping candles out of pet reach and never leaving lit candles unattended.
Can cause intoxication, coma, and death. Hops causes panting, increased heart rate, elevated temperature, seizures, and death.
Any Rich, Fatty Food
Can cause Pancreatitis.
Chocolate & Caffeine
affect the heart and nervous systems.
Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.
Garlic & Onions
Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Cats are more susceptible than dogs. Garlic is less toxic than onions.
Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.
Some cause CNS effects including hallucinations, hyperactivity, and coma. Others damage the liver, heart, or kidneys causing death.
Holiday PartiesThe Christmas season is full of holiday merriment. Some dogs never met a party they didn't like. Other dogs become incredibly anxious among large, noisy crowds. If your pet hates parties, consider hiring a sitter for the night or keeping him comfortably out of the way.
Also, instruct your guests not to give him alcohol or party food. Either could be deadly.
Antifreeze can be fatal even in very small quantities. The smallest amount can shut down the kidneys. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, seek emergency care immediately.
Ice Melting Compounds
The substances used to melt ice on sidewalks and steps can burn the pads of your pet's feet.
If you suspect your pet has ingested poison, contact Poison Control or your local Emergency Vet IMMEDIATELY.
Traveling With PetsChristmas time means visiting family, wherever they may be. Our culture is becoming more pet friendly, which makes traveling with pets much easier. Here are some tips to make it safer, as well.
Collar, Tags, IDKeep a collar on your pet at all times with clear contact information in case your pet gets lost.
Nervous TravellersConsult your pet's Veterinarian for medications that can be used to help a nervous pet travel with less stress. Ginger dog cookies are a nice OTC option for pets who get car sick.
Emergency CareBefore or immediately upon arrival, locate the nearest emergency pet hospital. In case of an emergency, you don't want to waste precious time trying to find someone to help your pet.
Try to book a direct flight so that your pet does not have to change planes. This can be very stressful.
Some airlines allow small dogs or cats to fly with you. This is the safest option.
If your pet is too big to share a seat with you, talk to the airline in advance to ensure your pet's crate meets requirements. Secure your pet in his crate yourself to be sure it is closed tightly. Watch the crew put your pet on the plane, and be there as quickly as possible to take him off the plane.