Keep an Eye on Your Pet this Holiday Season

Whether your pet is always on their best behavior or has a mischievous streak, it’s easier for them to get into trouble when the holidays come knocking. When your home is fully-decorated and your table is laden with home-cooked delights, it’s only natural that your pet will be curious (and excited) about the change in atmosphere. However, many holiday decorations and foods can cause illness or injury to your pet if ingested.

Foods That Should Be Off Limits to Pets

If any of these foods are present for your holiday celebrations, keep them far away from your pet:

  • Bones from chicken, turkey, or other meats – If chewed, bones can break teeth and injure the mouth. If swallowed, bones can cause internal injury, choking, or obstruct the stomach or intestines.
  • Onions, garlic, leeks, and chives – These foods contain chemicals that can break down the red blood cells and cause anemia in pets.
  • Chocolate (cocoa powder, baker’s chocolate, dark chocolate, etc.) – Chocolate contains chemicals that can affect your pet’s heart. Symptoms of toxicity may also include muscle tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Grapes/raisins and currants – Acute kidney failure can result if your pet ingests any of these fruits. Never leave them within your pet’s reach.
  • Macadamia nuts, pecans, and walnuts – While peanuts, pistachios, and cashews are generally safe for your pet, but ingesting the nuts listed above can cause weakness, depression, muscle tremors, and vomiting. Pecans can cause gastrointestinal problems or even lead to blockage.
  • Xylitol – Xylitol is found in sugar-free gum, candy, and baked goods. It’s highly toxic and can even be fatal if ingested in large amounts.
  • Grease, butter, and other forms of dairy – Rich foods often contain their share of butter, cream, and/or grease for texture and flavor. However, they can upset your pet’s stomach and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other problems.
  • Corn on the cob – Corn off the cob is perfectly safe, but feeding your pet the entire cob can result in them choking or having a bowel obstruction.

Be Careful with These Decorations

  • Christmas tree – Check that your tree is securely anchored in its tree stand and does not have any fragile ornaments hanging on its lower branches where your pet can reach them. Also make sure that the tree skirt is covering the tree water to discourage your pet from drinking, as the needles and sap from pine and fir trees are toxic.
  • Tinsel and ribbon – If your pet gets their paws on a piece of ribbon or tinsel, they could choke on it or swallow it and end up with an obstructed bowel.
  • Candles – Use flameless candles throughout your home to prevent a fire hazard.
  • Lights – Does your pet like to chew? Keep electrical cords hidden from view or covered with plastic tubing to deter chewing.
  • Fake snow and flocking – If ingested, these materials can make your pet sick or cause choking. Use them wisely, or avoid using them altogether just to be safe.