Holiday Pet Hazards

While the holiday season brings family and friends together, it also brings holiday hazards for your pets.  From Christmas trees to candles and chocolate, hazards abound for your pets during this holiday season. In the following article, I will discuss some of the common hazards for dogs and cats during the holiday season as well as some tips to help keep your pets safe during the season.

Christmas trees can bring numerous different hazards for your pets.  Needles from the Spruce, Pine, or Fir trees that commonly make up Christmas Trees can be irritating to the esophagus and lining of the stomach and G.I. tract.  In addition, the water from the Christmas tree base (if using a live tree) may contain bacteria or mold which can be harmful to your pets. The ornaments on the tree can be broken and the glass, plastic, and aluminum can be ingested or cause cuts and abrasions to the skin.  Finally, the hooks used to hang your ornaments can be an additional hazard if your pet gets caught on them.

Our feline friends are particularly prone to holiday hazards.  Cats tend to have an affinity for string-like objects and your tinsel and ribbons can cause linear foreign bodies when swallowed.  Speaking of feline friends, poinsettias can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach when ingested. They can also cause drooling, vomiting, and nausea.  Finally, with family and friends coming over it is always a good idea to make sure your cat is Microchipped. With family and friends coming over for the holidays, it’s easier for our feline friends to sneak outside unnoticed.

During the holiday season candles can get knocked over, presenting a fire hazard for you and your pets. In addition to causing a fire, burns can result in your pet’s skin.  Make sure to keep all candles in a safe place and to keep pets away from areas where the stands or bases could get knocked over. Chocolate should also be kept in pet-friendly containers or cabinets where our feline and canine friends can’t get to.

Alcohol ingestion and toxicity is another concern during the holiday season.  Pets do get into alcoholic beverages. Many of our pets are quite small and even small amounts of alcohol can cause significant illness.

Holidays are a time for spending time with family and friends, curled up with our kitties and puppies in bed or around the fire.  But, holidays also bring about pet hazards that can cause preventable illness. On behalf of the entire World of Animals Family, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season, and with the right Prevention and care, a safe and happy holiday for your pets as well.

Jeffrey Stupine, V.M.D
Medical Director
World of Animals Veterinary Hospitals