The holiday season is a favourite time of year for many. What is there not to like when it comes to decorating your house with Christmas lights and ornaments and planning the ideal meal for the whole family – including your companion animal? We encourage festivities that include – and can be safely enjoyed – by all family members, furry or not. Many people don’t realize that some of their favourite holiday items pose a threat to animal health. In this post, we discuss a few of the most common hazardous items and how to deal with them.
The Christmas Tree
Pine needles are toxic for cats and dogs and can be damaging to the intestines when they’re swallowed whole. Most cats and dogs wouldn’t consider the needles a tasty treat, but do make sure you regularly clear any rogue needles left on the floor. Also, make sure that your pet’s water bowls are not placed near the tree and that their water is refreshed regularly because needles that end up in their water bowl will poison the water!
Cats won’t be able to resist playing with Christmas ornaments! If they manage to get knock them off of the tree and smash them into smithereens on the floor… they not only ruin the decorations but also risk getting some of the shards in their sensitive foot pads. Playful dogs could mistake them for chewy toys and bite them into pieces. This could lead to severe internal damage. When you choose your ornament, choose an animal-friendly one that won’t break.
They may look innocent and bright but they could be a real hazard if your kitten or puppy decides to chew on the spindly wires. Always make sure you hide the wires to prevent your animals from getting an electric shock.
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without our favourite holiday desserts, many of which contain chocolate. However, none of these are good for cats and dogs, particularly chocolate, which is toxic to dogs. so make sure that these are always out of reach of your four-legged companions. Refrain from decorating your tree with chocolate figurines or candy canes and always choose animal-friendly ones instead.
There are few plants so synonymous with the holidays as holly, mistletoe and poinsettia but they are also very toxic for cats and dogs. They can cause upset stomachs and should, therefore, be placed far out of reach.
The holiday season means a bountiful table of food and snacks and you may be tempted to feed your dog or cat the scraps. Your guests might be thinking the exact same thought, leading to overfeeding. Fatty foods like turkey and pork crackling can lead to upset stomachs and, generally speaking, dogs and cats don’t take well to sudden changes in their diets, so don’t be tempted by the festive cheer, and be sure to stick to their normal feeding routine.
Make sure to dispose of any wood wrappers and other items such as aluminum, wax paper, and skewers. Inquisitive dogs might start looking for scraps and accidentally chew on a skewer or aluminum wrapper with painful consequences.