The holidays are here, and in the spirit of giving, we at The Animal Haven in North Haven would like to offer you some tips to ensure the safety of your pets this time of year. While we may sound like the Grinch trying to steal your holiday fun, we’re really asking you to make a few minor adjustments to your holiday decorating to make sure your pets remain healthy.
“If you put up a Christmas tree, consider looking at it through the eyes of a new or young pet,” says Dr. Arnie Cary, DVM, and Animal Haven Board Member. Your young dog or cat may see an exciting new plaything to climb on, so it’s important to secure it so it won’t easily fall. That popcorn garland or those candy cane ornaments? Perfect for an afternoon snack, or so your pup might think. If you have to use them, string them higher up so your pet can’t reach them. The same goes for those enticing strings of lights. If you have a four-legged chewer, the lights may be just the bright and shiny toy he was looking for, but munching on them can cause electrical burns and even house fires. That reservoir of water? Your dog or cat may see a new source to drink from, so keep it covered to avoid gastrointestinal problems from bacteria or chemicals. The tinsel? Your pet might just see something irresistible and ingestible, but you could be looking at a serious intestinal blockage requiring surgery, which could be life-threatening, if she decides the silvery stuff is too good to resist. And lastly, those fun globes hanging there just for your cat or kitten to pull down and bat around? If they’re made of glass, and they break, your pet could suffer if she steps on them or ingests them.
If you are burning festive candles, put them up high enough to make sure your cat or dog’s tail can’t accidentally brush them and cause burns, or even a house fire.
Holiday plants such as mistletoe, holly, or poinsettias are all toxic to dogs and cats. While they’re not generally fatal if ingested, they can cause some serious vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If enough mistletoe is ingested, it could cause a drop in blood pressure, seizures, and death.
Holiday candy can be a problem for your dog. Chocolate can be very toxic to them, depending on his weight and the kind of chocolate ingested. The darker the chocolate, the less it takes to be very toxic! A box of it under the tree, even though wrapped, may be easily sniffed out by your pet, torn apart, and ingested. If that happens, call your veterinarian, who will decide what to do based on the amount eaten, and the size of the animal.
Making these adjustments won’t take much time or effort, but will ensure that your pets have a safe and happy holiday season, right along with you. Happy new year to all!