Holiday Hazards And Pets

[December 2019 | San Juan Silver Stage]

While it’s fun to include your pets in holiday festivities, it can also be a hazardous time of year for them. As pet parents, we have to be especially vigilant during the holiday season. If your cat or dog is like mine, you need to be watchful of that beautiful Christmas tree you’ve spent so much time getting just right.

All those twinkling lights, ornaments, and tinsel can be very tempting. An electric shock, shards from broken ornaments, and ingesting tinsel can cause severe vomiting, gastric distress, and could mean a trip to the vet or, in a worst-case scenario, even require surgery.

I had a crazy cat that climbed to the top of our tree not once, but three times! Fortunately, she didn’t get hurt, although I was ready to strangle her. I put it back up each time because I didn’t want to disappoint my kids, but after the third time the cat was banned to the bedroom when we weren’t home. It was for her own safety and my sanity. You can avoid this headache by making sure your tree is secure in a wide-base stand. Even better, wire the tree at the top to something solid. A climbing cat or tail-wagging dog might tilt it a little, but it won’t topple.

You can avoid this headache by making sure your tree is secure in a wide-base stand. Even better, wire the tree at the top to something solid. A climbing cat or tail-wagging dog might tilt it a little, but it won’t topple.

If you have a live Christmas tree, keep the water reservoir covered. Live trees secrete harmful chemicals such as fertilizer and fire retardant that pets seem to like to drink.

Those pretty poinsettias might give your pet an upset stomach and diarrhea if eaten, but did you know that other holiday plants are even more toxic? According to the ASPCA, amaryllis, mistletoe, holly, and a variety of lilies can cause kidney failure and gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems in cats and dogs.

Adult beverages can be oh-so tempting when left unattended. What gives you a nice buzz can put your cat in a coma or cause your dog to go into respiratory failure, and I don’t think I need to mention the hazards of leaving recreational drug edibles where children and pets can get at them!

You and your pet can survive the holidays if you plan ahead, take precautions, and stay aware. Oh, and don’t forget to have a comfy, secure place for your pet to retreat to when the New Year’s fireworks go off, or you may find them in bed with you!