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Be Prepared to Prevent Pet Holiday Hazards

It may be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but it can also be the most dangerous for your pet.  Holiday decorations and festive foods can put your pet at risk, so take precautions to prevent holiday mishaps.

Below are the top ten pet-related holiday hazards:

  1. Toppling Christmas trees, or accidentally knocking over lighted candles, which can cause a fire.
  2. Chewing on electrical cords and tree lights, which can result in electric shock
  3. Ingestion of tinsel and/or angel hair, which can cause intestinal obstructions.
  4. Eating seasonal plants, including:  Holly berries (extremely toxic!  Even a small amount will cause vomiting and diarrhea);  Mistletoe (can cause digestive upset as well as irregular heartbeats and possibly cardiac shock); or Hibiscus and other lilies (can cause digestive problems and possible renal failure). 
  5. Ingestion of poultry bones (can splinter and cause obstructions or perforations) and bread dough (which will rise in a pet’s stomach, causing abdominal pain, bloat and vomiting).
  6. Consuming chocolate, macadamia nuts, raisins, coffee and alcoholic beverages, each of which can be fatal if ingested in quantity.
  7. Choking on children’s toys, which can contain small parts.
  8. Ingestion of wrapping paper, ribbon and tape, which can cause intestinal obstruction.
  9. Tasting liquid potpourris, and fireplace salt, which are toxic.
  10. Escaping, by rushing through the door as guests come in or out.

Simple safety steps
The good news is that you – and your pet – can safely enjoy the holidays in your home, with just a little preparation (and a lot of common sense).  For example, be sure pets are wearing collars with ID tags, in case they do happen to slip out the door.  Instruct guests not to feed pets any table food, and keep a supply of your pet’s favorites toys and treats handy.  Give to your pet when everyone is enjoying their holiday goodies.

To avoid potential poisonings, choose artificial plants in your holiday décor,  check floral arrangements for toxic plants and keep all plants and decorations up out of reach.    

If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, seek medical attention immediately.  The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center provides round-the-clock telephone assistance. Keep the number handy: 888-426-4435

Have a safe and happy holiday season!