Holiday Pet Safety Tips

The holiday season is upon us, and as you gear up for festivities it is important to remember to keep these tips in mind to make sure your furry family members stay safe.


Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations

– Avoid having any mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, or lilies near your pets. These plants are toxic to animals and can cause serious gastrointestinal and other problems to pets.
– Securely anchor your Christmas tree so that it doesn’t fall on your pet if they try to climb it or tug on it. Christmas tree needles can cause gastrointestinal upset if your pet ingests them. Be careful with water additives for the tree they may not be good for pets.
– Avoid tinsel around pets. Pets may ingest it and it can cause a life threatening obstruction in their gastrointestinal system.
– Be careful with Christmas tree ornaments. Glass ornaments that break can be swallowed by pets and lacerate their gastrointestinal system. Other ornaments can also be swallowed. It is best to have a barrier between your pets and your Christmas tree.
– Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over.
– Don’t leave Christmas lights on in your pet’s reach, they can cause burns if chewed on.
– Keep liquid potpourri out of your cat’s reach. It can cause serious ulcers in your cat’s mouth if ingested.


Avoid Dangerous Holiday Food

-Keep chocolate and candy out of your pet’s reach. All chocolate is toxic but baking chocolate and dark chocolate are more toxic to pets. Any candy or gum containing the artificial sweetener xylitol is very dangerous to pets.
– Fatty, spicy and other human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry family members.
-Be careful with over stuffing your pet’s stocking with treats. Extra treats that your pet is not used to could upset their stomach.


Keep your Pets in Mind when Hosting Parties

-All pets should have access to a comfortable, quiet place inside if they want to retreat. Make sure your pet has a room or crate somewhere away from the commotion, where your guests won’t follow, that they can go to get away.
-Make sure your pet’s cannot escape and run away. Fearful pets may run when there is a crowd. Make sure your pet has identification on and a current microchip just in case they do get out.
-Keep the trash out of your pet’s reach. There is nothing they love more than food scraps and this can make them very sick.
-As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that pets are often terrified of fireworks and other loud noises. Be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday, from everyone at Spring Branch Veterinary Hospital

Megan Hughes, DVM