Some pet holiday hazards are more obvious and well-known than others. A partial list of things your four-legged family member should avoid:
- Christmas trees, live or artificial, pose an irresistible temptation for many dogs and cats. Your dog might knock it over as he runs through the room; your kitty might pull it over on herself if she tries climbing or jumping onto it.
- Christmas tree decorations can also spell trouble. Tinsel, angel hair, glass ornaments and metal hanging hooks can do serious damage to your pet’s paws, mouth, and digestive tract.
- Holiday candles are another hazard. Both flames and dripping wax can burn your pet, and if a burning candle is knocked over by a rowdy or curious dog or cat, a fire can result. Your pet might also try to sample food-scented candles.
- Holiday plants and flowers like poinsettias, lilies, amaryllis, holly and mistletoe. If your dog or cat samples one of these, it will result in digestive upset at a minimum, and can even be fatal.
- Wrapping paper, bows, ribbons and the like – bright colored and crackly-sounding – can also be an enticement for a curious pet. Ingesting gift wrap will likely make your dog or cat quite ill, and in some cases can cause more serious damage to internal organs.
Live trees are often treated with toxic chemicals. Their needles, if ingested, can cause GI problems. And the sitting water at the base of your tree, should your pet decide to sample it, can be festering with bacteria.
Dr. Becker's Comments:
Everyone recognizes the holidays can be very stressful for people, but did you know the same holds true for the family pet?
Any change in routine or diet, changes in the environment (like a house all decorated for the holidays), and guests dropping by or staying overnight can cause stress for your dog or cat. That’s why it’s important to try to keep your pet’s meals and exercise schedule as predictable as possible throughout the holiday season.
This will be harder to do if you’re traveling to visit family or friends, whether you take Fido or Fluffy along or leave them behind with a pet sitter or in a boarding facility.
If there’s no way to avoid a disruption in your pet’s routine over the holidays, just be aware that your furry friend is probably feeling anxious. Be prepared for temporary changes in his appetite and behavior that may be the result of stress.
by Dr. Bekker