This time of year is magical for so many people. It is a time to come together with family and friends and celebrate togetherness and love. This holiday season we need to also keep our beloved furry friends in our minds and make sure we aren’t putting them into any harmful situations. To keep pets safe during the holiday season, here are a few tips we recommend so everyone rings in 2018 safe and healthy.
Safe Stocking Stuffers
We all want to spoil our pets during the holidays, but if you are getting ready to stuff your pet’s stocking make sure you are buying gifts that are safe for your pets. Dogs are known for ripping apart toys and even digesting the stuffing or smaller inner components. These items can become stuck in the esophagus, stomach or intestines and cause problems for your pets. Try to stick with chew toys and treats that are indestructible for pets. Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy treats or Nylabones are great options for your dog. Also, avoid cat toys that have ribbons, yarns or other small loose parts that can be digested by your cat. If these items become stuck in your cat’s intestines there is only one way to remove them and that typically involves surgery. A safer option for your cat would be to surprise them with a ball that is large enough that they can’t swallow it or a toy filled with catnip.
Many cats not only enjoying laying under a Christmas tree, but many like to climb up into it as well. Make sure your tree is properly anchored so it won’t tip or fall, causing injury to your pet. In addition, if you have a living tree, keep your pets away from the water at the base of the tree. This stagnant water can be a breeding ground for bacteria and if it is ingested by your pet it may result in diarrhea or nausea.
Nix the Tinsel
Let’s face it. If it is sparkly and looks like a ribbon your cat will want to play with it. This is why we recommend avoiding tinsel on your tree. Tinsel is easy for your cats to grab, play with and even eat. However, what seems like a “toy” to your cat can mean trouble down the road. If it is eaten, it can cause an obstruction to your cat’s digestive tract, which can lead to severe-vomiting, dehydration and possibly even surgery. If your cat does ingest tinsel, please do not try to remove it yourself. If it has become wrapped around anything internally, you pulling on it can cause more damage to your pet.
By now most of us know that items such as chocolate or any items sweetened with xylitol can be extremely toxic to our pets. However, don’t underestimate the lengths in which your pets will go to chomp down on these treats. Make sure to keep your pets away from unattended plates and keep lids on garbage cans. Also avoid giving fatty or spicy food to your pets and make sure they can’t get into any discarded turkey or chicken bones. These bones easily splinter and can potentially cause a choking hazard for your pet.
If your pets can be on the shy or nervous side it may be good to place them in an isolated area while friends and family are over. A lot of noise and excitement can cause unnecessary stress to your pet and can make them very anxious. Simply place them in their own room away from the excitement of holiday parties and maybe even turn on a television or radio to drown out some of the other noises. Don’t forget to also place some food, water, a litter box and a cozy place to snuggle in the room for your pets. Filling it with familiar items such as their bed or favorite toys can also help ease their stress.
From chewing on wires to puncturing batteries, some holiday decorations can harm your pets. If bitten, live wires can give your pets a potentially lethal shock and punctured batteries can cause burns to your pet’s mouth and esophagus. In addition, do not leave candles unattended. Your pets may become intrigued by the flame of the fire and end up burning themselves or knocking the candle over.
Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe can be staples to holiday decorating, but they can also be very harmful to your pets. When ingested, holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in pets. Mistletoe also causes cardiovascular problems or gastrointestinal upset. Poinsettias can cause vomiting, diarrhea, blistering in the mouth and will make it difficult for your cat to breathe. In addition, there are also many varieties of lilies that can cause kidney failure if they are eaten by your pets. To keep these items as part of your holiday decorations, but also keep your pets safe, opt to use artificial versions of these plants.
From our Humane Society family to yours, we wish you all a very happy and safe holiday season and hope all of you will ring in 2018 with a furry friend curled up by your side!
Do you have a question for Brian? E-mail him at AskBrian@hsdayton.org. Brian Weltge is the President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. The Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building loving relationships between people and pets. Founded in 1902, it is the largest and most established no-kill animal welfare agency in the area. It focuses on pet adoptions, eliminating pet overpopulation, providing education and ensuring the humane treatment of animals. For more information about the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, call 937-268-PETS (7387) or visit www.hsdayton.org.