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Protecting Pets From Holiday Hazards

A Guide to Protecting Pets During the Holidays

Although you and your family probably enjoy the festivity of the holiday season, these celebrations can be deadly for pets if you're not careful. Special foods served during the holidays may harm pets if they accidentally eat these delicacies. Even Christmas decorations can be dangerous if pets eat them or become entangled in them. Decorate and celebrate with your pets in mind to keep your family safe.

Festive Plants

Many cats and dogs have a proclivity toward tasting house plants. This unfortunate habit can have deadly results if the plant is poisonous. Poinsettias, a common Christmas tradition, are not poisonous, contrary to common belief. Mistletoe and Christmas rose are toxic, however. When you have pets in the house, avoid crown of thorns, ficus, hyacinth, and philodendron because these plant species can be harmful to pets.

Christmas Decorations

The Christmas tree and other festive decorations may be enticing to your pets. Cats and dogs are often curious about these new additions to your home's decor, and they may play with them. Garland, tinsel, and popcorn strings on a Christmas tree can be dangerous to pets if they ingest them. Some materials can cause internal blockages that require surgery to remedy. If an animal plays with fragile ornaments on the Christmas tree and breakage occurs, the pet could be injured by sharp edges on the broken pieces. Decorate safely without garland and tinsel, and avoid breakable ornaments. You may have additional electrical cords in place for your decorations, but position these cords carefully to keep your pets from chewing on them. In addition, candles lit around the room may add a festive air, but they can be dangerous fire hazards for pets. Use battery-operated flameless candles instead.

Foods of the Season

Your family may enjoy many special foods during the holiday season, but some of these delicacies can be harmful to your family pets. Chocolate is toxic for animals, causing diarrhea, damage to the nervous system or urinary system, or even death. Alcoholic drinks served during the holidays are often sweet, which may attract your pets' attention. If a pet samples these drinks, it may become ill. Keep all foods and beverages safely out of reach of your pets.

For more information on how to protect your pets during the holiday season, please review the following links:

  • Pet Care: Clemson University offers basic pet care guidelines, including precautions to take with pets during the winter.
  • Holiday Poison Safety (PDF): The Blue Ridge Poison Center provides poison safety guidelines for children and pets.