The Ten Most Harmful Holiday Pet Hazards

Decking the halls and trimming the tree should be a joyous occasion, but the tasty food, decor, holiday plants, and festivities can also spell trouble for our furry family members. Too much “holiday fun” can lead to accidental poisoning, intestinal obstruction, or injury.

The team at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital is here to spotlight some of these hidden harmful items so that you can keep your pet safe.

10 Harmful Holiday Pet Risks to Be Aware Of

Taking the time to look for holiday pet hazards around the home will better protect your pet through the season. With just a little precaution, you can expect to keep the fa-la-la-la-la going strong. Here are some of the biggest risks to your pet.

  1. Chocolate. Chocolate candy, cacao, Bakers chocolate, cakes, pastries, and other forms of chocolate all spell trouble if ingested by your pet. Dark chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate, but all forms are poisonous to cats and dogs, so stash them in the cupboard.
  2. Alcohol. No, your pet won’t likely imbibe in the bubbly during New Years, but did you know that most pets will investigate glasses containing sweet concoctions? Make sure any leftover wine, beer, and liquor are cleared away to prevent poisoning.
  3. Xylitol. You may not have heard of this sugar substitute, but it is used in many pastries, sugar-free candies and gums, and other treats and is highly toxic to pets. Look for the label on sugar-free items and ensure these delicacies don’t find their way into your pet’s curious paws. 
  4. Ornaments. Whether they are small enough to be bite-sized or they’re actually edible, ornaments rank up there as one of the biggest holiday risks to your pet. Choose larger, non-breakable bulbs and baubles that can’t fit into your pet’s mouth or cause an injury.
  5. Tinsil. By far, this sparkly string is one of the biggest causes of pet emergencies this time of year. This is a big danger to cats who have an affinity for anything stinglike. Avoid tinsel, curling ribbon, popcorn string, and the like around your four-legged friends.
  6. Wires and lights – Bundled light cords and wires are easy for a pet to get tangled up in, and little mammals, like rabbits, guinea pigs, and even dogs and cats, will chew on them. To keep electrical cords out of a pet’s reach, try bundling them together in a protective plastic tube, or gathering them up and pinning along the walls or behind furniture. 
  7. Toxic plants. Many holiday plants like holly berries, ivy, and mistletoe are toxic. Lilies are especially toxic to cats. Consult the ASPCA’s list of poisonous plants and opt for safe selections or silk arrangements.
  8. Lit candles. Avoid whisker and nose injuries, as well as burning down the house, by keeping curious pups and kitties safe. Instead of lit candles, try battery powered lights, which are just as nice for the ambience.
  9. Snow globes. Snow globes are a popular and nostalgic choice for your mantle, but did you know they contain ethylene glycol, a highly toxic substance that can be fatal if swallowed?
  10. Christmas tree. Make sure the tree is secured by anchoring a wire to the wall. Also, live trees are full of preservative chemicals and tree water can contain these noxious substances. Don’t allow your pet to drink from the tree, or choose an artificial tree instead. 

We hope that by alerting you to these dangers, you can keep the festivities going uninterrupted by a trip to the vet. With a few changes and precaution, you’re sure to keep the jingle in the season of Kris Kringle. 

If you have any questions about holiday pet safety, please call us. Happy holidays!