5 Holiday Health Hazards for Pets

   By daisykuchins  Dec 05, 2013

No matter the holiday, there are special considerations if you’re a dog or cat owner. You need to be aware of potential poisons, rambunctious children and unsafe decorations to ensure that your pet enjoys the holiday as much as you. Learn how to keep the lovable, four-legged member of your family safe during the holidays.  

1. Holiday Food Hazards for Pets

It’s normal to want the family dog or cat to share in the special holiday feast. But, unless you know you’re sharing only the foods that are best for them, it’s wise to refrain. Even pets that don't get table scraps can accidently get sick by stealing food or raiding the garbage can, so it is good to stay informed. Not only do dogs and cats have different nutritional needs, they can also be poisoned by some of our favorite holiday foods. 

Chocolate is poisonous for dogs. PetMD states that it can affect different dogs in different ways and depends largely on body weight and type of chocolate. Baking chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate. Small dogs are more at risk than large dogs, since the same quantity of chocolate in a smaller body can make the situation life threatening.

Grapes and raisins are another poison for dogs. Many holiday treats and breads are cooked with raisins. Be sure not to feed the family pet any leftovers to avoid putting his health at risk. According to the ASPCA the following foods can also be toxic to dogs and cats:

  1. Avocado (persin)
  2. Bread Dough (yeast)
  3. Alcohol (Ethanol)
  4. Hops 
  5. Macadamia Nuts
  6. Moldy Foods
  7. Onions and Garlic
  8. Xylitol

If you think your dog or cat may have consumed an unsafe food, call the veterinarian for advice.

If you want to safely include your cat or dog in the holiday feast, try a homemade dog treat recipe or homemade cat treat recipe!

2. Electric Cords Pose Chewing Risk for Pets

Typical Christmas decorations involve electrical cords for lights and other displays. Unfortunately, chewing puppies, kittens and rabbits may find these cords irresistible. The best thing to do is keep the animals away from the cords. This may involve covering the electrical cords with PVC pipe, blocking with furniture or keeping the animal contained when he can’t be closely supervised in the room.  

3. Unfamiliar Children a Holiday Pet Hazard

Children are drawn to animals. Many people are unaware this can be a hazard for the pet and the child. If pets are not used to young children, they could become nervous and nip, bite or scratch.

Children can be over-enthusiastic when playing with a relative’s pet and inadvertently hurt it or scare it. Likewise, a pet may feel territorial when a child is in his space. 

It’s always a good idea to supervise young children around unfamiliar pets. This is extremely important for pets that are not used to children.

4. Holiday Plants and Pets

Some holiday plants can be poisonous for pets. The ASPCA website lists Poinsettia, Lilies (considered highly toxic to cats), Mistletoe, Holly, and the Christmas Rose as poisonous to both cats and dogs. Many of these plants are considered mildly toxic, so don't freak out if your pet has ingested, however it is always a good idea to call your vet or the animal poison control if you are unsure. 

Animal Poison Control: (888) 426-4435

You don’t have to ban your favorite Christmas plants because of your pets. Many dogs and cats avoid the plants on their own. For those that don’t, pet owners can keep the plants out of their animal’s reach.

5. Candles Can Be a Pet Hazard

Not only can a pet accidently knock over a burning candle, but some puppies may decide to chew up a candle that contains toxic chemicals. To prevent fires, candles should never be left unattended. The best policy is to keep them out of the room when a puppy or frisky cat is present.

Pets can sometimes be overlooked during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Take a few moments to evaluate pet safety in your house to ensure a safe, cheery holiday for you and your pet.   

For more holiday tips go to holidayscentral.com

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