Holiday Hazards for Pets

Holiday season is an exciting and usually hectic time of year. With decorations, gifts and fun things all around—not to mention visitors coming and going—it's also a time to be extra mindful of your super-curious and rambunctious companions!

Here are some of the most common holiday hazards to be aware of:

Holiday Plants
Bright ornamental plants are a great way to dress up the house during the holidays, but be careful—many of these plants can be poisonous to your pet. This list includes lilies, mistletoe, poinsettia and holly (the berries are especially toxic). If you're unsure about a particular plant, look it up to check toxicity. Monitor your pet's interest in eating plants, and place them out of reach. Check the plants for any signs of chewing or missing leaves.

Sweets
Holiday candy, like jelly beans and Easter eggs, can cause GI problems and become toxic once ingested. Chocolate is one of the most common causes of toxic reaction in pets. The darker the chocolate the worse it is. Do not place wrapped boxes of chocolate in Easter baskets on the ground or under the Christmas tree—dogs can sniff them out. Also be sure to keep the candy dishes covered so playful paws aren't tempted to fish them out.

Bones
Small turkey and ham bones can lodge in the throat, stomach and digestive tract requiring surgery to remove. Also, the fats and gravies that you may add to your pets' food can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Electrical Cords
These are always a hazard to curious kittens and puppies. But the extra lights and decorations provide even more temptation. Make sure that all electrical cords are in good condition and out of reach.

Christmas Trees
These create a whole realm of dangers for your pet. Poorly secured trees can fall on rambunctious pets as they run around or try to climb them. Pine needles can cause GI irritation and perforation. Sharp or breakable ornaments should be kept well out of the way of curious mouths and paws. Christmas trees may contain additives and preservatives, which leech into the water and can be toxic if ingested. Tinsel, yarn and ribbon can cause linear foreign bodies (get wrapped up throughout the intestinal tract) and create a blockage and/or possible perforations.

Lost Pets
The holidays make it easier for pets to sneak their way out of the house with the extra guests and visiting friends going in and out. Be sure to keep identification on your pets at all times and keep them contained in a bedroom if you are expecting a lot of foot traffic through your front door.