Keeping Pets Safe During the Holidays

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We received this information from our friends at Chippewa Animal Hospital and thought our pet-loving members would appreciate us passing it along…

Lights, decorations, good food... every year, as we celebrate the holidays, we fill our homes with seasonal cheer for ourselves and our families. However, what may seem beautiful and harmless to us may pose hidden dangers to our pets. Don't let an emergency spoil the festivities! Below are some common holiday hazards for dogs and cats and ways to prevent them.

Holiday hazard and how to keep your pets safe:

Dangerous Foods
The following can be toxic to pets: chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, garlic, onion, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, bread dough, and sugar-free candy and gum containing the artificial sweetener xylitol.

Regular Foods
Despite tradition, bones should never be given to pets. Even beef, ham, and other "regular" foods that aren’t considered toxic can cause illness in pets. If your pet is a moocher, keep a saucer of his regular treats on the table to offer when he asks. He probably won't know the difference!

New Treats and Toys
Even a pet-safe treat can cause stomach upset if it’s new to your pet. Offer only one of these at a time (ideally, separated by a few days). If your pet becomes ill after eating a holiday treat, it’ll be easier to trace the source and discontinue it. Also, check new toys for sharp edges, pieces that can be chewed off, or other potential hazards.

Plants
Hazardous plants include mistletoe, some evergreens (including some types of pine), and holly bushes and berries. Try to keep these plants away from pets, or at least supervise pets when dangerous plants are nearby.

Decorations
Tinsel, tree ornaments, ribbons, string, and garlands are some items that can be dangerous if eaten by pets. Keep these items away from pets — especially when pets are unattended. Don't forget to cover any electrical cords or keep them out of reach.

Fire and Carbon Monoxide

Monitor pets near fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, candles, and portable heaters. Also, don't forget to check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are functioning properly. Space heaters, furnaces, and idling cars (in a garage) can increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in pets and humans.

Christmas Trees
Monitor your pets when they’re around your holiday tree. Pets may eat the needles (even from artificial trees) or drink water from the base of the tree, which can be toxic, especially if there are preservatives in it. Keep electrical cords and decorative lights out of reach, too.

In many cases, if your pet has eaten or drunk something toxic, warning signs will include gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Other signs may include tiredness and lack of appetite, especially in cats that have eaten lilies. If your pet shows any of these signs, or if you think he or she has eaten something dangerous but is not showing any signs yet, be sure to seek help. Treating your pet as soon as possible is essential!

We also want to remind you that Vantage offers PurinaCare pet insurance, with a 5% monthly discount on coverage, or 10% for two or more covered pets, to help with your pet’s healthcare costs.