Poulsbo Animal ClinicDeck the Halls: Holiday Decorations Safety for Pets
All over the country and the world, people are preparing for holiday celebrations. An important part of these celebrations is decorating our homes with traditional items. But did you know that decking the halls with boughs of holly can be dangerous for our pets?
Yes, even the seemingly ubiquitous holly mentioned in the beloved song is toxic to our pets. And because we’re sure your dogs and cats are doing a bit of investigating with all the new items around your home, we thought the time was right to spend some time on holiday decorations safety for your pets.
Holiday Decorations Safety
We’re sure that if you have a Christmas tree, you’ve probably worried about it toppling over – with or without help from your pets. You may also be hearing the telltale tinkle of ornaments being batted down. While these situations may present some minor problems, there are some holiday decorations that can be downright dangerous for your pets.
Tinsel – sparkling tinsel can look beautiful as it catches the light. Unfortunately, it’s one of the worst when it comes to holiday decorations safety for pets. Tinsel can cause a serious intestinal blockage if consumed, often resulting in the need for surgery to remove it.
Plants – holiday plants are lovely, and they lend a special festive atmosphere all their own. But as we mentioned, holly, poinsettias, and mistletoe are all extremely toxic to pets. Check the ASPCA for a complete list of toxic plants to make sure you’re not bringing a potential problem into your home for the holidays.
Lights – strings of lights are somehow very enticing to pets, but who could imagine that our pets would ingest them? Unfortunately, it happens all too often. Pets are also at risk for electrical shock if they decide to gnaw on these, and strangulation can happen if pets get tangled up. Keep lights out of reach.
Candles – the gentle glow of candles on a menorah or holiday candles on a mantle are a lovely addition to the holiday decorations. But singed whiskers and burnt tails are definitely a risk when pets are around. A better holiday decorations safety option are battery powered candles.
Liquid potpourri – the scents of peppermint, pine, and cinnamon are all wonderful smells that invoke holiday time for many of us. Liquid potpourri and other essential oil diffusers can be dangerous to our pets. Make sure they can’t access essential oils, and that pets have a way to escape diffused smells if they are too intense.
Chocolate – many of us like to have bowls of sweet treats around at holiday time, but chocolate and other edible items are toxic to our pets. Watch for gift wrapped items under the tree that might also entice our pets to “open” gifts early, getting them into trouble.
Breakable ornaments – glass and fragile ornaments are enticing to pets who like to bat at them in play. Unfortunately, these ornaments – when broken – can be ingested and cause foreign body obstruction or GI lacerations.
For a pet friendly holiday season, it’s important to understand the risks of holiday decorations. In the midst of all the joy and merriment, we hope to help you prevent a pet emergency.