Schertz_000015099493_MediumIf you’ve been drooling over the tree in Union Square and window shopping all over the city, you’re probably well-steeped in the holiday spirit. There’s so much to love about this time of year, but in the middle of it all, is your pet left wanting for attention? Left to his or her own devices, could your pet be in trouble? The holidays are brimming with questions about holiday pet safety, and we’re here to help you get your footing!

Boughs of What?

Behold the greenery that adorns every doorway and bannister…so lovely, and yet, so toxic. While real pine trees, garlands, and wreaths aren’t the ideal appetizer for your pet in any situation, ingested pine needles can also be super dangerous. The sharp ends can cause intestinal punctures, possibly requiring surgery.

Similarly, the consumption of poinsettia, holly, lilies, or mistletoe can cause vomiting, diarrhea, organ failure, and even death. It’s best to display these plants in unreachable areas or on your front stoop.

The Real Tree

Did you know that many commercial Christmas trees can actually leak fertilizer, pesticides, preservatives, insecticides, or fire-retardants into the tree stand water? Holiday pet safety rules include covering the potentially toxic water so your pet can’t sneak a drink. Also attach your tree to the wall or ceiling in case your pet can’t resist the realistic looking doves near the top.

Other Considerations

We love the twinkle as much as anyone, but for your pet’s sake, please exercise extreme caution – or overall restraint – with the following decorations:

  • Tantalizing tinsel – Shiny and attractive, tinsel is also sadly responsible for painful intestinal obstruction, often resulting in x-rays or ultrasound. In some cases, advanced critical care may be required.
  • Electric lights – Keep cords and wires up high to reduce the possibility of entanglement or electric shock.
  • Glass ornaments – It’s best to display any breakables high on the tree to mitigate the risk of unintentionally knocking ornaments down. Walking on or eating broken glass can be dangerous for your curious pet.
  • Gift wrap – If there are edible presents under the tree, your pet is likely to sniff them out and try to eat through the wrapping, starting with the bows or ribbons. This can lead to choking, strangulation, or intestinal obstructions. It’s also worth noting that whatever edibles lurk within are likely to contain ingredients that are toxic to pets (see below). Keep all gift wrap away from your pet and diligently clean up after gifts have been opened.
  • Candles – Make sure any lit candles are out of your pet’s reach, as they can quickly become a fire hazard.

Holiday Pet Safety and You

What else can you do to prevent a holiday pet emergency? We recommend that your pet never be offered – or have access to – these toxic ingredients:

  • Alcohol
  • Xylitol (common sugar substitute)
  • Chocolate
  • Grapes or raisins
  • Certain nuts (especially macadamia)
  • Rich, fatty foods
  • Uncooked bread doughs

If you notice your pet displaying any changes in behavior or he or she just seems “off,” please don’t hesitate to contact us.

During the holidays, we strongly advocate for the safety of all pets, and we’re happy to answer any questions and address your concerns. We’re here for your pet every day of the year, and we hope you can enjoy the holidays at home together. From our family to yours, we wish you a happy (and safe) holiday season!