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Have A Pet Safe Christmas!


Ho! HO! Ho! And HOLD IT - until you review these unsuspected risks, spray-on snow, tinsel, toxic foods and plants, lighting, wires, batteries, rubber bands...


Remember that pets are attracted to the seasonal decorations so keeping your pet safe will require special care.


December 14, 2021 update |

Nel Liquorman, Investigative Reporter


Animals are attracted to  Christmas decorations so keeping your pet safe will require special care. A review of items that may be harmful (or fatal) to your pet will help you keep the merry in your holidays without emergency trips to the vet.


One of the biggest hazards is tinsel on your Christmas tree. Dogs and cats are attracted to the sparkly stuff. Both have been known to eat tinsel which can slice up their gastro-intestinal system. If it gets packed into a ball, surgery will be required.


Unfortunately, many items that pets swallow will not show up on x-rays unless air is trapped along with the items. This can make diagnosis difficult and costly – meanwhile your pet will be suffering.


Christmas Tree Safety:

A Christmas tree standing in chemical-free water may seem safe enough but the sap mixes with the water and may be more toxic than the chemicals used to keep the tree fresh. Bacteria from the standing water or fertilizers that were used while the tree was in the ground can cause stomach upset or worse. Spray-on snow adds more chemical risks so be aware of this hidden risks.


Electric cords may be chewed by your pet but the risk becomes greater when the wires are attached to dazzling lights. When you go out, unplug the lights.


Christmas Ornaments and Decorative Items:

Hooks used to hang the ornaments can also be swallowed by a curious pet and a hook dropped into carpet could be stepped on. Painted ornaments and toys may contain lead, especially if they are from China.


Small glass ornaments may be mistaken for a ball and if your dog can get his mouth around it, it can get broken. If ingested it can cause severe damage to the gastro-intestinal tract.


Most live Christmas flowers and plants are toxic {Ref #1}. Lilies can cause kidney failure if ingested by pets, while poinsettias, mistletoe, Christmas cactus, and holly can inflict a wide range of problems such as irritation to the mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Many florists use toxic cocoa mulch {Ref #2} in potted plants which is deadly to cats.


Like small children, pets are curious, and candles should be well out of reach. And remember that any flame gives off carbon monoxide, so don’t get carried away with candles when your windows are tightly closed in the winter.


Christmas Foods Safety:

Keep pets away from chocolate, alcoholic drinks, raisins, and onions. Garlic, fatty skin from the turkey, many spices and bones may do more than just sicken your pet. Never give your pet any yeast dough when you are baking. The dough can expand (rise) and have potentially fatal results.


Non-seasonal items like plastic wrap and plastic bags can be harmful to your pet for a variety of reasons.Keep in mind that our stomach is vertical whereas our pets’ bellies are suspended like a hammock. We can pass gas easily but dogs, especially large breeds, can die from gastric torsion {Ref #3} when an over-full stomach bloats up and twists.


Plastic wrap or plastic bags can be harmful to your pet and if they contain tasty food they may be ingested. If you use liquid potpourris, keep them out of reach of visiting pets and children. Walking through spilled liquid and then licking paws result in severe oral, dermal and ocular damage, especially for a cat. Rubber bands pose a choking hazard and contain a chemical that especially attracts cats.


Other Holiday Season Risks:

While you are enjoying the wonders of winter, don’t forget that your pet could suffer hypothermia. Also, road salts and chemicals on their paws needs washing off. They can they irritate the pads but should not be licked off for obvious reasons.


Christmas toys and gifts often come with batteries which contain corrosives. If a pet chews on a battery, it can result in ulcers to the mouth, tongue and gastro-intestinal tract. During the hustle, bustle and stresses of the season, take care not to leave any medications exposed.


NEL ON RECALLED, RECYCLED, COUNTERFEIT DOG FOODDuring the stress of holidays (and now COVID) remember to give your pets extra attention so they don't feel neglected while everyone is making merry during this wonderful season. Make it a joyous Christmas for your family and the safest one ever for your pet!


My personal motto when it comes to Christmas is; “THE ONLY THINGS OF VALUE IN THIS HOUSE ARE THE PETS”!


And lastly, keep your veterinarian's number handy.  If vets are closed, among the best phone numbers to call in an emergency is 800-222-1222 the National Poison Control Center which will automatically connect to their free service in your state. Depending on who answers, you may get quick, basic information for animal poisoning, 24-7.


Reference Information: {1} Dangerous Holiday Plants ~ {2} cocoa mulch ~ {3} gastric torsion EST 2002 © Feb 2013 171119122112



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