Holiday Hazards And Your Pet Kid

Our furry friends are part of the family and we want to include them in the festivities. However, let’s remember that there are many potential dangers for our pets at this time of year that we should avoid:


Pets love to sleep under the Christmas tree. Make sure it is secured and won’t fall over onto your pet. If you have a real tree, the water feeding it may contain fertilizers and bacteria that are toxic to your pet if ingested. Tinsel is a tempting, sparkly treat for your cat or dog but ingesting it could lead to an obstruction in their digestive tract and possibly surgery. The same goes for tree ornaments and decorations around the house. The best defense is avoiding tinsel, keeping tempting decorations out of your pet’s reach and monitoring their activity around these items.


Every holiday season, pets are hospitalized for eating or drinking something they shouldn’t have. Remember to keep a lid on your garbage can and resist the urge to feed table scraps, especially bones. Turkey in particular, is too rich for your pooch to handle. As for dessert, chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol are off-limits. But it doesn’t stop at food; drinks containing alcohol or caffeine are toxic to your pet and should be avoided. If in doubt, leave it out (of reach) and stick to your pet’s regular food and treats.


Buying a new toy for your pet this season? Some cats and dogs can be quite destructive with their toys, tearing them apart and even swallowing pieces. These pieces may become stuck in their digestive tract and need to be surgically removed. Try to find durable, ‘indestructible’ toys and always monitor play time. As for your cat, long, stringy toys may seem like fun but why not try a small toy stuffed with catnip or a laser light for your cat to chase?


Did you know that certain plants in the Lilly family can cause acute kidney failure in cats? Holly ingestion may lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and mistletoe can even cause cardiovascular problems! Avoid buying these plants if you have pets and if you receive them as gifts, keep them out of reach of your pets and even consider discarding or regifting them. Poinsettia plants are generally over-rated in regards to their toxicity, but as they can be irritating to the mouth and stomach if ingested they should be kept out of reach of pets.


What do holiday lights, new electronic gifts and plug-in ornaments have in common? They pose a risk to your pet if the electric cord is chewed on. Electrical shocks can leave an animal in critical condition or even be lethal. Remember to unplug cord when you aren’t home and monitor your pets around them. Candles may be easily knocked over by our pets causing burns or a fire. Always blow a candle out before you leave the room and keep them out of reach! Liquid potpourri can be very dangerous if ingested so if you are using it, keep it well out of reach of your pets.


You may know enough to keep all medications well out of your pet’s reach, however, house guests around the holidays may not be aware of this danger. Remind guests to keep prescription lids secured and tucked away. They should be aware of how many pills remain in each bottle so that if your pet finds a way to access them, you have an idea of how many may have been consumed.


With winter well underway, many of us have a need for Ethylene Glycol, also known as Antifreeze. This toxin tastes delicious to our furry friends who happen to find a puddle of it on the garage floor or driveway. Even small amounts can lead to death in our pets. With the cold weather, pesky rodents make every attempt to find shelter in the warmth of our homes. It may be tempting to put out rat poison for them, but remember that rat poison can also poison and kill your cat and dog…even if they eat a mouse that has consumed the poison!

Any change in your pet’s behaviour or routine could be a sign that something is wrong. If you have any questions or concerns about your pet come directly to The Veterinary Emergency Clinic of York Region.  We never close. We’re open 24/7/365.  Appointments never needed.