The holidays are in full swing, and it’s a safe bet your pet is right in the center of all the action. This time of year presents a few hazards for our four-legged friends, so take caution. Here, your Coon Rapids, MN veterinarian tells you what to be on the lookout for:
Your pet likely sees shiny tinsel and ornaments as fun toys. It’s important that you don’t let your pet play with them, though, as these items can present a choking hazard or cause intestinal obstruction when swallowed. If necessary, put decorations like these on the highest part of your tree. Some pet owners simply leave tinsel off their holiday trees entirely.
Do you decorate with a real tree? Make sure your pet doesn’t get under the tree at the base, because it contains stagnant water that may harbor bacteria and other harmful agents. Plus, sharp pine needles probably litter this area, and they can cause harm if a pet ingests them.
Poinsettias tend to get a bad rap; they’re not necessarily toxic to pets. However, they do produce a sap-like secretion that has been known to irritate pets’ mouths and throats if swallowed. Mistletoe and holly, equally common this time of year, are more dangerous. They can cause toxic reactions when ingested by pets, so keep them out of reach.
Plenty of human foods that are common during the holidays shouldn’t be given to pets. These include onions, garlic, chives, grapes, raisins, certain nuts, caffeinated beverages and foods, chocolate, candy, gum, salt, fatty foods, and more. Alcohol is also very dangerous for pets and can cause poisoning in very small amounts—never let your pet imbibe in liquor, wine, beer, or champagne.
Don’t leave wrapping paper, tape, twine, string, ribbons, or bows lying around on the floor for too long. If pets accidentally ingest these items, intestinal blockage and other serious health problems may result. Also take care not to leave scissors lying around, as these could harm pets and human family members alike.
For some pets, the holidays can simply be overwhelming, especially if a lot of guests are coming over to your home. Set up a pet bed in a quiet back room, and lead your pet there if you see them becoming anxious.
Contact your Coon Rapids, MN pet clinic for more helpful holiday tips.