Tag Archives: holidays and pets

5 holiday pet hazards you never thought about

Lilac says: Mommy, let’s play! FOREVER!

You’ve probably heard the standard advice about keeping your pets safe during the holidays: Don’t let dogs gnaw on turkey bones, make sure cats don’t swallow tinsel.

But veterinarians see a slew of other holiday emergencies you may never have considered. Here are just a few:

Christmas lights:

A string of Christmas lights may not sound dangerous, but every year veterinarians treat dogs and cats with electrical burns on their mouths. The reason? Some pets, especially cats and puppies, just love to chew those power cords.
A jingle bell toy. Buy a big package of cat toys and you’re likely to get a small plastic ball with jingle bells inside it. When is this dangerous? When your dog decides it’s a delectable treat and swallows it.


If you give your dog some fatty human food, vomiting and diarrhea may result. But low-calorie food could hurt dogs even more – and possibly kill them  –  if it includes the artificial sweetener xylitol. The substance is highly toxic to dogs. It shows up in gum, sugar-free candies and baked goods  –  even in a few types of specialty peanut butters. Check labels to avoid the danger.

The ribbons on your presents:

Ribbons can cause big problems when dogs or cats ingest them, especially if they travel all the way into the intestines.

Grandma’s purse:

Or anyone else’s! Especially if they leave it on the floor where your inquisitive pet may stick a nose inside it and wind up eating something dangerous like a bottle of medicine.

No turkey bones for Fido Thanksgiving day!

Double trouble!

Thanksgiving should be a time spent with friends and family  – not at your local emergency animal hospital.

Veterinarians say they typically see a significant uptick in cases during the holiday season. The most common problems include:

gastrointestinal irritations with vomiting and diarrhea

pancreatitis from eating fatty foods

an increase in animals struck by vehicles

It’s unfortunate because many of the cases are preventable. By taking some basic precautions, pet owners can ensure a safe and happy Thanksgiving for all members of the family.

Tips to keep pets safe:

Don’t give your dog bones from your holiday turkey or ham. These can get lodged in the throat, which may cause choking or pierce the esophagus. Bones can also splinter and cause the intestinal track to become perforated.

Foods high in fat content can cause pancreatitis, so avoid feeding table scraps.

Also, make sure to seal garbage bags and place them in a tightly covered container to prevent your pets from getting into them.

Many foods used in holiday cooking are not safe for animals:

Onions, garlic, chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts and raw or undercooked food can create major problems for pets.

Make sure friends and family aren’t sneaking treats to your pets.

Be especially vigilant about xylitol, a sweetener  found in sugar-free gums, cookies and candies. The substance, which is extremely toxic to pets, is also used for baking and can even be found in some brands of peanut butter.

If you suspect your pet has ingested xylitol, get to an emergency animal hospital as quickly as possible.

As guests and deliveries come and go, there’s an increased opportunity for pets to slip out the door unnoticed. Try to keep pets inside, and make sure ID tags and microchip information are up to date. This greatly increases the chances of a successful reunion.

The holidays can be stressful for everyone – including pets. If your cat or dog starts showing signs of illness or distress, be sure to take them to your family veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital right away.