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Winter Holiday Hazards for Pets

As winter approaches and we all begin to prepare for a wonderful, festive holiday season, we want you to be aware that this time of year brings with it new hazards for your pets.

First, many holiday foods can cause problems for pets. We see a lot of sick dogs following traditionally high-fat meal days, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Avoid feeding table scraps to your pets to prevent digestive problems. Also, be careful when baking. Chocolate is toxic to pets, and baking chocolate is especially hazardous because it contains a much higher concentration of Theobromine (the toxin in chocolate). Other foods to avoid are coffee, onions, salt, yeast and spoiled foods.

Also dangerous this time of year are many indoor holiday plants. Lilies are especially a concern for cats. If ingested, they can cause kidney failure, which can be deadly. Poinsettias are irritating to the mouth and stomach, but are not truly toxic. Even so, keep them away from curious pets. Holly ingestion can cause vomiting and diarrhea. And mistletoe also has the potential to cause an upset stomach and sometimes heart problems. The best bet is to keep all plants out of reach of your pets.

There can also be special concerns regarding the Christmas tree and common items associated with it. Christmas tree water often contains fertilizers which can cause upset stomach if ingested. Also, stagnant water can be contaminated with bacteria that might make your pet sick if ingested. In addition, be careful of electric cords, ribbon or tinsel and glass ornaments. These can all attract curious pets and are dangerous if chewed on or ingested.

As you prepare your home for the upcoming holiday season, please keep your pets in mind and ensure that the environment is not only beautiful and festive, but safe as well. We wish you the best holidays this year!