Happy holidays to all of my fellow animal lovers! We all know that it's easy to can get caught up in the season's decorating fun and festivities- but, many holiday items can be hazardous to our furry family members. Be sure to check out the adoptable sweethearts in today's gallery- perhaps you can help them find a loving home by New Year's?
Avoiding the hazards on the list below makes it easier to decorate in a manner that is fun and safe for the entire family! And you never know what Dasher, Prancer and Dancer might get into when they stop by, so best to play it safe for the sake of all of our fellow creatures!
Some holiday hazards include:
Mistletoe, Holly and Ivy are extremely poisonous when nibbled or ingested.
Poinsettias are also hazardous as their leaves and sap can be toxic and cause severe intestinal distress.
Hibiscus can cause vomiting or blooding if ingested
Because there are so many hybrids of the above plants each year, it is best to keep them out of reach or just avoid them altogether.
Christmas greens such as balsam, juniper, cedar, and fir have some toxicity to them so can pose risks as well.
Bones from a holiday Turkey:
Do not feed bones to your furry kids. Not only are they choking hazards but, bone chips and fragments can lodge in the intestines and be very dangerous.
Preservatives used in the water for a tree stand can cause intestinal upsets- best bet is not to use such preparations. Avoid sugar and aspirin additives in the water as well. Pesticides used on the tree can also seep into the water so be sure furry family cannot get to the tree water to drink it.
Ingested pine needles can be somewhat toxic and irritate or puncture your companion animal's intestines. Be sure to clean up dry or stray needles as they fall.
Ornaments and Decorations:
String objects like tinsel and ribbon, are to be kept away from companion animals. They can wrap around intestines or ball up in the stomach causing obstructions.
Angel hair (often made of spun glass) can cause severe irritation to skin and eyes irritation and is hazardous if ingested.
Artificial spray snow can be toxic if inhaled or otherwise ingested.
Metal ornament hooks can get caught in playful paws or ingested. Twine or yarn can be used instead to affix ornaments to the tree.
Bubbling holiday lights contain methylene chloride fluid which can be dangerous if inhaled or ingested.
Antifreeze is a huge hazard at this time of year- it tastes sweet to animals so they tend to lick it. Always be sure to clean any such leaks up right away. It poses a sever risk to wildlife and other area animals.
Fireplaces that utilize fire salts present hazards if the salts are ingested-symptoms can include gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, convulsions and other sequelea.
Tying ribbons on a furry family member's neck should be avoided as they can get stuck on objects and potentially choke themselves.
Electric cords can be a hazard to puppies, kittens and bunnies as they may chew them. Keep them secured and out of reach. Also best to unplug them entirely when not in use.
Candles can always be a fire hazard if pushed over by a curious kitty or wagging tail.
Hazardous human foods include: Chocolate, grapes, raisins, avocados, Macadamia nuts, onions or onion powder, garlic, caffeinated drinks, alcohol, cooked bones, fish bones, moldy or spoiled food, and raw yeast dough.
Products sweetened with xylitol are extremely toxic. This sweetener is often found in chewing gum and mints. Any such ingestion requires immediate medical attention.
Other potential harmful substances include ice melting products, liquid potpourri, mothballs and those 'stay fresh pouches' that often come in shoe boxes and gifts. Use caution with all of the above and if an animal ingests any of these potentially fatal items CALL YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY.
I can never overstate the importance of keeping updated tags on all companion animals. Microchipping is also important. All pets should have at least two forms of ID on them at all times. Our nations shelters are filled with lost family pets who no one anticipated would ever get lost. It is tragic and a tag is such an easy safeguard to provide.
Many people travel over the holidays, leaving furry family with a neighbor, petsitter or friend- this is often when animals escape or get lost. It is critical to always have proper ID on them. You might consider getting a tag that includes your pet sitter's or neighbor's name and number if you are going to be unreachable while away.
Wishing you, your companion animals, and all of our fellow creatures, a safe and happy holiday season!
Dr. Pia Salk