Things That Are Harmful To Your Pet This Holiday

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Have a holly, jolly Christmas with your family, but don’t forget about your pets! If your house is decorated in holiday decor, you want to make sure all your decorations are pet-friendly. Christmas trees, poinsettias and tinsel can all be harmful to your pet if you’re not careful.

Poisonous Holiday Plants

  • Holly and Mistletoe: Although holly and mistletoe are beautiful and full of aroma, if ingested by your pet it can make them very sick. Holly will make your pets nauseous and will often induce vomiting or diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause cardiovascular problems and will cause gastrointestinal problems, according to the ASPCA.
  • Poinsettia plants: The sap from the poinsettia plant is mildly toxic to pets and can cause nausea or vomiting and can also irritate your pet.
  • Lilies and Daffodils: According to the ASPCA, holiday lilies and daffodils can be very toxic for cats, causing cardiac arrhythmias, kidney failure, convulsions and even death. Daffodils are also very toxic to both cats and dogs so if you receive one of these plants as a gift, keep them out of reach of your pets.

If, in the unfortunate case, your pet ingested something toxic or poisonous, make sure you take them to a veterinary hospital or specialized center immediately. When funds are tight, some veterinary and vet tech schools offer free or low-cost clinics.  If you’re in a remote location, you can always contact a pet poison hotline, but this may not be the best solution when your pet is seriously distressed. Don’t worry;  a trained vet will take good care of your pet and in most cases will have a simple cure to get your pet up and running in no time.

Real Christmas Tree

Although real trees smell nice and give the room a certain ambiance, they can be harmful for your pets. Real trees aren’t poisonous but still pose multiple hazards. You’ll want to keep your pet from chewing on the needles, as they are sharp and can irritate their mouth and digestive tract, if eaten. If you can, create a barrier around the tree with baby gates or fireplace screens.

  • Christmas Tree Water: Watch the water bowl for the Christmas tree and make sure your pets aren’t drinking from it. The water can be filled with fertilizers or bacteria that could upset your pet’s stomach, so keep an eye out. Often times, the water is filled with chemicals to keep your tree living longer, but the chemicals are toxic to pets.
  • Ornaments: Avoid using breakable ornaments. Hang all ornaments above paw level and opt for string instead of hooks as it’s a lot harder to knock off the tree. Don’t use small ornaments that are possible for your pet to eat.
  • Avoid Tinsel: Not often used today, but if you plan on using tinsel this year use it sparingly, and towards the top of the tree. Tinsel is so small and thin that dogs might chew and swallow it, thinking it’s a fun toy. This could cause digestion problems and leave your pet with stomach problems, or worse.
  • Hang Lights High on Tree: Some curious pets might paw at the lights, pulling the strand off the tree, entangling them in the wires. If you’re at work or out, they could be stuck like this for hours, which could cause them to get nervous, which might lead to possibly taking down the entire tree. Although the lights are small, they could burn the pets nose or paws if too hot.

Extension Cords

Keep extension cords out of sight and off the ground as much as possible. New kittens or puppies tend to chew on anything at ground level, and with their sharp teeth, they will be able to chew through the cords, possibly giving them electric shock, which might lead to death.

Liz Soren is a volunteer lifeguard, eco-blogger, and activist. Liz writes about animal and social activism.

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