We all look forward to the winter holiday season each year, so it is particularly tragic when a family pet is harmed during this time. Paying special attention to safety as you celebrate is very important.
- Christmas trees can be very attractive to dogs and cats. Pets may eat the needles (even from artificial trees) or drink the water at the base of the tree, which can be toxic (especially if preservatives are in it).
- Electrical wires can be a serious hazard. Dogs or cats that chew on these wires can sustain severe burns to the mouth, injury to the brain and lungs, and death from electrocution. It is best to keep wires out of reach or taped down securely. Also, lights may become hot and are best used only on upper branches of trees.
- Ornaments are beautiful for people to look at, but dogs and cats may think they’re toys. Fragile, breakable or edible ornaments may be knocked over, and wire hooks can get caught in your pets hair, skin, or—if eaten—stomach and intestines. An alternative to wire hooks is to use loops of yarn, ribbon, or lightweight twine. Hang the ornaments out of reach of your dog.
- Tinsel can block the intestines if swallowed, requiring emergency surgery. Tinsel also has sharp edges that can cause cuts in the mouth. Angel hair, which is made of spun glass, is also irritating if touched.
- Gifts should be checked for small, breakable parts that can be easily swallowed. As with tinsel, string and ribbon can cause intestinal injury or blockage. Monitoring your dog around these items is highly recommended.
- Human holiday foods, like chocolate, coffee, macadamia nuts, yeast dough, and alcohol, can all be hazardous.
We all want our pets to enjoy the winter and holidays with us. By taking a few precautions and preventive measures, pets can be protected from many common winter hazards.