We’re right in the middle of the holiday season, which is a joyous time of year for people and pets alike. As you plan your holiday gatherings, make sure you take your pets into account, and that you are proactive with preventative measures to keep them safe and healthy. Your dog and cat vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ can help by providing useful tips.
Here are a few examples of some of the most common dangers to dogs during the holiday season that you should watch for:
- Ribbons: Ribbons are commonly used along with wrapping paper during the holidays, but we recommend avoiding ribbons entirely if possible if you have pets around your house. These ribbons are attractive to dogs and cats alike, and can be choking hazards. The ribbon, when swallowed, can get caught in the intestines, causing blockages and potential death. If you do have ribbons in your home, make sure you dispose of them immediately after opening the gift, and keep presents with ribbons out of reach of pets.
- Lights and candles: Sparkly holiday lighting can be very attractive to pets. This includes icicle lighting, garland, curtain lighting, netting, rope and candles, etc. If your pet is a chewer, they might attempt to chew the cords, which can be a major safety hazard and a potential electrocution risk. Always use a grounded extension cord as a safety precaution, and make sure to be proactive about training pets to stay away from lights. In addition, if you put out candles, keep them out of reach of your pets so they will neither attempt to chew them or knock them over.
- Food: The holidays are a big time of year for cooking and eating. There will likely be snacks out all over the place at holiday gatherings in particular. Some of the more popular holiday options, such as chocolate, candy and nuts, can be quite toxic and even fatal to pets. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is likely to be. Keep dogs away from chocolate at all costs. Fat trimmings and bones are also dangerous—fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis, and bones can splinter and result in obstructions or lacerations. Never give certain nuts to pets—almonds, pistachios and walnuts can cause obstructions, and moldy walnuts and macadamia nuts can be toxic.
- Plants: Certain types of common holiday plants can also be dangerous to pets. Poinsettia is not deadly, but can cause a lot of irritation to the mouth and stomach. Mistletoe and holly can both cause severe vomiting and diarrhea and leave pets lethargic and depressed. Pine needles from Christmas trees can cause irritation, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Whenever possible, keep these plants out of reach of your pets to keep them safe.
These are just a few examples of potential dangers facing your pets this holiday season. For more information about how to keep your pets safe, contact a dog and cat vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ at Newkirk Family Veterinarians. We will be happy to answer your questions. We hope you and your whole family—pets included—have a happy and safe holiday season!