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Holiday Hazards - Help Your Pets To Stay Safe!

The Pawlidays are such a fun time to celebrate and reflect upon the year, but don't forget, pets can be as curious as children about holiday decorations, food, and visitors! Cats can swallow tinsel, dogs can accidentally eat chocolate, and both can get into the medicine from Aunt Sally's purse.

Here are a few things to consider when planning your holiday celebrations!

  • Batteries in toys, greeting cards, electronic devices, flameless candles, and remote controls can cause serious injury if pets (or humans) swallow them. Internal burns can occur in a very short time.
  • Water from Christmas tree stands can contain bacteria. Swallowing the water can cause stomach upset and diarrhea, even if the ingredients aren't poisonous.
  • Pets can choke on tinsel, ribbons, and Christmas tree needles. They can be cut by broken ornaments. Keep trees and their decorations high up or blocked off.
  • Poinsettia is not a deadly plant, despite frequent warnings in the media. However, the sap from poinsettia plants can be very irritating. Pets who chew on poinsettia can develop skin rashes and mouth irritation. If they swallow the plant, they could have stomach upset and discomfort.
  • Holly leaves are prickly and can cause injury if a pet tries to eat them. Holly berries can be poisonous; they easily dry up and fall onto the floor where pets (and children) can find them.
  • Alcoholic beverages and chocolate are among the foods that pets should not consume. Empty the glasses and store leftovers safely so pets won’t consume the drinks or develop food poisoning. (Last year, my sister's Yorkie got into a wine glass, drank it all, and ended up in the pet ER, it was quite a scare! Watch those wine glasses!)
  • Many human medicines are poisonous to pets. For example, small amounts of over-the-counter pain relievers can be fatal to cats and dogs. Even if your own medications are stored safely, visitors may have medications in their purses or suitcases. Provide a place to store these things safely, out of sight, and out of reach of pets (and children).

If your pet swallows a battery, take the animal to the vet immediately! It is NOT OK to wait. Call your vet immediately if your pet seems ill after getting into any kind of food or decoration. If you have questions about something your pet may have swallowed, call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222. Local specialists will answer your call 24 hours a day.

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Posted: December 13, 2022