During the holiday season, celebrations and decorations can translate to pet safety hazards and it's not uncommon to see accidents related to foreign body ingestion, bone fractures and electric shock occur.
COLD WEATHER DANGERS
Outdoor cats may seek warmth under the hood of a car. To avoid a surprise in cold weather, always check for sleeping cats.
Bringing outdoor animals inside creates its own risks due to drier air and lower humidity in the winter months. Brush pets more frequently and contact a veterinarian about introducing dietary supplements or prescribing a moisturizer.
SAFE PROOFING A HOLIDAY HOME
Trees provide a great temptation for cats to climb and dogs to chew on, so holiday trees should be well secured to prevent accidents. Also, pets should not drink tree water, which may cause gastrointestinal upset.
Holiday ornaments should be hung out of pets' reach. Ingestion of ornaments or broken glass (not to mention ribbons and bows) can lead to serious medical emergencies. Pets, especially cats, can be tempted to eat tinsel, which can block the intestines.
Animals are attracted to bright, moving lights so candles should be kept on high shelves. Candles as well as fireplaces should be constantly supervised since embers, sparks and wax can injure pets.
Other holiday products that can harm pets include snow globes (many which contain harmful antifreeze) and artificial snow, which can cause reactions if inhaled.
Holiday plants including ivy, holly, mistletoe, hibiscus, poinsettia, lilies and Christmas greens all have various levels of toxicity. Position these high off the ground to avoid dangerous ingestion mishaps.
Fatty meats, gravies and poultry skin can cause pancreatitis, gastritis, enteritis, colitis and other gastrointestinal problems. Bones put pets at risk for bowel obstruction or perforation and choking. No chocolate for four-legged friends. It contains theobromine, which is highly toxic to dogs and cats when eaten in even small quantities. Pets can celebrate with home-cooked dog and cat treats. Recipes are available on the Internet.
PETS AND PARTIES
An influx of holiday guests may frighten or agitate animals, making them more prone to barking or even biting. Find a quiet room away from the crowd that pets can have to themselves.
Pets can easily slip out through an open door as guests come and go -- keep a steady eye on pets and be sure they are wearing current identification tags.
Have questions about pet care? Always consult your veterinarian.