Our beloved pets are more likely to visit an emergency center over the holiday season than any other time of the year. There’s just a fascination and an irresistible urge for pets to amuse themselves with the many seasonal objects that can mesmerize, cause blockages and even poison our cherished cats and dogs.
If tradition insists on a holiday with all the trimmings, becoming knowledgeable of toxic foods, plants, and pet-proofing your holiday decorating can help to eliminate costly veterinary visits and save your animal from deadly play, or lethal ingestion.
Trouble Under the Tree
Dogs may be tempted to drink from the bacteria laden water beneath the Christmas tree causing squirty-poops and nausea. However, if an additive, bleach or alcohol were added to keep the tree green then a quick lap could prove deadly!
The Risk of Timeless Trimmings
Be cautious and aware that artificial Christmas trees become increasingly flammable with age and spew toxic carcinogenic dust tainted with lead that is harmful to people and animals to breathe. So, why not consider restricting the pets’ entry using a pet gate, or maybe just close a door.
Scaling New Heights
Most kitty family members will yearn to climb any tower and “oh how enticing” is a twinkling tree. So, may I suggest securing the tree base with plywood, duct-taping the electric cords and hide the bulk with a festive tree-skirt.
For your pet’s added protection hang the mistletoe high, eliminate lilies from the shopping list and use Poinsettias only to decorate outside the front door. And, please don’t be tempted to pour gravy on your pet’s kibble, let it lick the eggnog, or give any champagne, too. Skip gifting the deadly chocolates a pet could find wrapped under the tree and remember to remove the red berries from Holly that is toxic to both humans and pets.
Festive and Safe For the Whole Family
As always, I’ll skip attracting a cat’s playful eye to a tree dangling with teasers, like tinsel, by lavishly decorating the mirror over the fireplace with garland and bows. This will become the focal point of my pet-safe holiday home. The flickering of artificial candles only adds to my safe ambient home.
So, please excuse me for sounding a little bit like Scrooge, but may I suggest you have the national Pet Poison Hotline number handy, (855-764-7661), and know the veterinary emergency center near you.
Wishing You And Your Pets A Healthy Happy Holiday!
DiAnna Pfaff-Martin began her journey helping animals in 1996 by writing “The Community Animal Report” for her local homeowner’s association newsletter. It quickly grew into a city-wide publication that was delivered to local vet offices.
Her publication helped raise awareness for animals searching for new homes and raise funds to help shelter dogs and cats that needed expensive veterinary procedures. DiAnna’s philanthropic efforts developed into the charity known as Community Animal Network, a veterinary medical rescue.
The needs of her community combined with her passion were recognized by the local newspaper which published her weekly column, “The Pet Of The Week”, for eighteen years.
Currently, she teaches pet-parenting classes, consults on feline behavior and about cat care; how to administer pills and other medications. Her charity offers hands-on veterinary medical internships to aspiring veterinarians and she still is the director of the rescue Community Animal Network.