Holiday Pet Dangers

Aileen Gabbey, Staff Writer, Exec. Director MDSPCA
December 7, 2011
Filed under Pet Care

It’s that time of year! Holiday time is a very festive and busy time for almost all of us. We have many things to do and plan, and, one of them should be protecting our pets from potential holiday dangers. Here are a few suggestions to keep your dog or cat happy and safe during this busy time.

Keep your pet on his regular schedule: Pets thrive on routine. Knowing when he’ll eat and be able to go out are ways to provide comfort and security. This will ease anxiety from the increased activity in the home.

Give your pet a refuge during holiday parties: Set up a quiet room in preparation of your holiday party. Have a comfy bed on hand for your pet to settle down. Turn on a TV or radio to drown out some of the party noise. Give your pet his favorite toy (perhaps something you can stuff with treats or peanut butter) to help with stress.

Keep plants out of reach: Typical plants at holiday time include mistletoe, poinsettia, holly, and others. If ingested, these can be toxic for pets.

Watch out for decoration hazards: There are many potentially dangerous items used for holiday decorations.

  • Avoid using tinsel, which can cause blockages if ingested
  • Be careful with additional cords and plugs, which pets could play with or bite
  • Don’t wrap food items and place under the tree. Your pets will find them!
  • Don’t hang breakable ornaments within pets’ reach
  • Cover the tree water so it can’t be accessible to pets
  • Promptly clean up pine needles, which are dangerous if ingested
  • Don’t place candles where pets could knock them over

Rich foods are tempting for pets, too: Lots of special meals are prepared at holiday time. These are appealing to both people and pets! Rich foods can be harmful for dogs and cats. Be sure to keep these items out of reach of your pets.

Presents for pets: If you buy gifts for your pet at holiday time (and many of us do!), make sure they are safe toys. Strings for cats are appealing, but can be dangerous if swallowed. Toys for dogs should not have any pieces that can be ingested. Many pet toy producers are now making plush toys with no stuffing to address this issue.

Our pets rely on us to take care of them. With these tips in mind, everyone in your home, two- and four-legged, can have an enjoyable and safe holiday!


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