Holiday Hazards

Posted by Karen Egert on

Christmas is one of the most hectic and special times of the year.  We are often so rushed that we can forget there are many dangers for our pets during this season.  The last thing we need is a trip to the emergency vet clinic.  So this post is dedicated to providing just a few reminders about holiday hazards.

Trees and Plants
  • Christmas trees have a natural smell that attracts pet.  However, the needles are not digestible.  Try to keep your pet away from the tree and you may even want to secure it so that it can't be knocked over.
  • Don't use preservatives in the water in the tree stand.  These can be toxic if consumed by your pet.  You can cover the top of the stand with the tree skirt so your pet can't get to it.
  • Artificial tress are not immune from hazards either.  Small pieces of plastic and aluminum can be swallowed causing intestinal blockage or injuries to the mouth.
  • Poinsettias irritate both stomachs and eyes.
  • Holly, mistletoe,amaryllis, chrysanthemum, and rhododendron all cause problems if eaten.
  • Jerusalem cherry berries are toxic.  They cause pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Lights on the tree can get very hot.  You may want to move them off the lower branches to avoid burns.
  • Tinsel has sharp edges that can cut mouths.  If swallowed it can block intestines and treatment usually involves surgery. 
  • Don't use edible ornaments or easily breakable ornaments for obvious reasons.
  • Angel hair is made of spun glass and can cause irritation on contact.
  • Keep electrical cords out of reach and secured to walls and or floors.  Chewing on wires can cause burns or pulmonary edema - fluid in the lungs.
  • Don't use wire hooks that can snag on ears and tails.  If these are swallowed, they can snag in the intestines or throat.
Gifts
  • Check any gifts your pet receives for small parts that could easily be swallowed.  Just like you do with your children's toys.
  • Wrapping can be dangerous, string and ribbons can cause blockages in the small intestine if swallowed.
  • Keep gifts out of your pets reach.  It could contain chocolate and other items that are harmful to pets.

Please keep these simple tips in mind so both you and your pet have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

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