Do you have any holiday pet safety tips to pet-proof your home? Thanksgiving weekend seems to be a favorite time to break out the holiday trimmings, not just regarding munchies, but decorations, too. There ARE safe food for cats and dogs, but dangers abound as well. Holiday homes turn into danger zones when pets decide to un-deck the tree, munch the holiday decorations, or swing from the garland. Cats climb holiday trees while dogs baptize them, and turn the howl-days into a nightmare. Refer to these tips to keep your pets safe and your holiday happy.
Holiday Pet Safety Tips You Need To Try
1. Plants and Pets
Dogs and especially puppies chew nearly anything. While kitties almost never chew up plants (aside from fresh catnip or wheat grass), they may target swinging leaves to claw–and then lick clean their claws. Certain holiday plants or floral arrangements may be toxic to pets, like lilies that cause kidney failure, or holly and mistletoe that result In nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy If eaten. While poinsettias aren’t deadly, they can lead to upset tummies, so choose pet-safe plants and set them out of paw-reach. Or consider using silk or plastic holiday plants make an equally showy statement without the poison potential.
2. Fire Hazards
Fireplaces offer extra warmth and atmosphere to holiday gatherings but can prompt singed whiskers or burned paws. Candles attract cats and kittens with the flickering light, tempting a paw-touch or nose sniff. Not only can that lead to burns, if Fluffy knocks over the Menorah the whole house could go up in flame. Why not use electric or battery powered candles for windows instead? Be sure any open flame stays out of paw-reach, and a screen protects the fireplace from curious critters.
3. Toxic Treats
Gobbling any candy may cause vomiting and diarrhea.
- Chocolate- Too much chocolate, which contains a stimulant called theobromine, can kill your pet. Keep holiday candy out of reach, in latched cupboards, to keep your canine glutton from over-indulging.
- Xylitol- This is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods, and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Affected pets may vomit, act lethargic or uncoordinated and these signs may progress to seizures.
- Macadamia nuts- these can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12 to 48 hours. Almonds, pecans, and walnuts have so much fat in them. They can cause diarrhea in dogs, or even lead to pancreatitis.
- Grapes and raisins- can cause kidney failure in dogs. Avocado can cause heart damage and death in pet birds.
- Wrappers– Flavored aluminum foil, grease-smeared turkey strings, and cellophane candy wrappers can be dangerous to pets if swallowed—dogs and cats rarely unwrap treats before eating. Eating raw yeast bread dough also causes problems when the dough rises in the tummy.
4. Christmas Tree Tips
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Cats consider the tree a feline jungle gym with cat toys that swing, sparkle, and invite paw-pats and biting. Some dogs take “aim” at the tree just as they would your outside shrubs and baptize the greenery. Drinking from treated water in the base can poison pets. Eating tinsel and ornaments can prove deadly, and dogs often chew through electric chords with shocking results.
- Set small trees upon tables, for example. Place the tree in a baby playpen or keep pets at bay with pet gates. Make sure low-hanging ornaments are pet safe, and the breakables are high in the branches away from inquisitive noses.
- Make the area around the tree unattractive to keep paws at bay. Carpet runners made from clear plastic work well when set upside down, so the pointy nubs keep pets away. Look for sticky mats designed to keep throw rugs from scooting on a slick floor. Pets don’t like walking on tacky surfaces.
- Bad smells also keep pets away from forbidden areas–and usually, people LIKE the scents that pets hate. Citrus works excellent, and you can use lemon or orange peels or potpourri under the tree. Vicks (menthol smell) also works as a good pet repellent. Dip cotton balls in the ointment and stick in the lower branches of your tree. They’ll look a bit like snow and blend in with the rest of the decorations.
- Create a “pet safe” tree decorated with dog toys and catnip mice. Place these within paw reach on lower branches and reserve the off-limits decorations for the top of the tree.
The ASPCA shows essential holiday pet safety tips on video by allforanimalstv: