Top 6 Holiday Safety Concerns for Your Pet

The Holidays can be a delightful time for both us and our pets.  However, festive activities and constant distractions can lead to overlooking potential dangers for our pets.  Take preventive measures to protect your pets this holiday season.
1. Holiday Tinsel and Ornaments
Tinsel and tree ornaments can attract your pets curiosity – they can chew and swallow these fragile objects.  Broken pieces can lacerate your pets mouth, throat, and intestines, as well as creating a choking hazard.  If tinsel is eaten, this ingestion could be fatal as it bunches and twists inside your pets intestines.
2. Gift Wrap
You may be tempted to decorate your pets collar with festive ribbon, but unfortunately this can cause choking or strangulation.  It is also best not to use holiday ribbons on gifts under the tree so that your pet will not be tempted to chew or swallow them.  Just like tinsel and ornaments, ribbon can cause damage to their mouth and intestines.
3. Holiday Lights and Candles
Tree lights and other lighted decorations may be dangerous for a curious dog or cat.  Check your holiday light cords for signs of fraying and use a grounded three-prong electrical cord, as electric shock can be fatal for pets that like to chew.  Make sure your pets cannot burn themselves or knock over lit candles.
4. Treat Hazards
A big part of the holiday season is special meals and treats, and it can be tempting for your pet to join in.  Of particular concern is chocolate, many meats, nuts, and bones.  Chocolate contains caffeine, fat, and a toxic compound that can make your pet very ill.  Bakers chocolate poses the most risk.  Meats can be higher in fat than that of the normal canine or feline diet, and can lead to serious digestive upset or pancreatitis.  Nuts can cause obstructions or be toxic to your pet, even those baked into cookies or cakes.  Bones can also cause digestive upset, or worse, can splinter and cause choking, or damage to your pets digestive tract.  Remember the best way to keep your pet safe from these dangers is to stick to their regular diet and treats, and ask visitors to refrain from feeding treats and table food.
5. Toxic Holiday Plants
Though pretty to look at, holiday plants can pose a danger to your pets.  Pretty leaves and new smells can pique a pets curiosity, but lead to danger.  Poinsettias, pine  needles, holly, lilies, and mistletoe can cause a variety of symptoms if ingested, including vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficulty breathing, collapse, and even death.  Remember to keep holiday plants up and away from pets access.
6. Holiday Stress
The activities and excitement of the holiday season can be fun, but the fast pace can be stressful for both us and our pets.  Dogs and cats that are used to a quieter environment can become stressed with all of the extra noise, activities and visitors.  Signs of stress in pets can be hiding more than normal, decreased interactions with family members, loss of appetite, and behavior changes such as excessive licking or grooming.  Make sure that your pet has playtime to burn off excess energy, stick to their normal routine as much as possible, avoid forcing interactions with visitors if your pet is uncomfortable, and make sure they have a safe place or separate room when visitors of other stressors arise.
The holidays bring a unique feel and fun to the season, and with a few precautions can be a fun time for your family, friends, and your pets.
Sand Springs Small Animal Hospital