‘Tis the season for pet safety! With all the hype of the holidays, it’s important to keep in mind potential pet hazards. Here are a few tips and tricks to help keep your pet out of harm’s way this holiday season.

Christmas Tree Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip or fall. Covering the tree holder or preventing access to it is recommended as the water may contain sap, fertilizers, chemicals, or bacteria and may cause vomiting or diarrhea if your pet drinks it.

Plants Mistletoe and holly can cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and/or diarrhea) and rarely more serious disorders. Poinsettias may irritate the mouth or stomach. Many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats. Artificial plants are safer options for your pet.

Tinsel Tinsel is an eye-catching “toy” for many pets. However, swallowing tinsel can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration, and can require surgery.

Electrical cords Many pets, especially puppies and kittens, chew on wires which can cause burns in your pet’s mouth or may deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock.

Ornaments Dangling ornaments may look like toys to your pet who may swat at them or chew them causing them to break. The shards can injure your pet’s mouth, digestive tract, and paws.

Food Chocolate and the artificial sweetener, xylitol, can be toxic to pets. Fatty foods such as gravy can lead to pancreatitis. Do not feed table scraps to your pet, and be sure to cover the garbage can. Bones should never be fed to your pet as they can  splinter, or become lodged in the mouth or digestive tract and may require surgical removal. Alcohol can cause pets to become weak, ill, and can cause them to go into a coma, which can lead to death from respiratory failure.

Noise Holidays are full of celebrations, which may include confetti and loud noises. Small objects like confetti can cause a blockage in their digestive tract. Loud noises from poppers or even large groups of strangers can terrify pets. Pets afraid of loud noises should be secured in a safe, escape-proof area. Playing soft music may also help calm frightened pets.

If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Society Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email behavior@anticruelty.org.

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