The holiday season only comes once a year, which means you’re probably going to have some food or decorations in your house this month that you wouldn’t normally throughout the other 11.
If you’re a new pet owner, then you may not have thought about how your holiday traditions can harm your animal. But even if your a experienced pet owner and have not experienced trouble with giving “holiday treats” to pets or decorating your house a certain way, these items still may pose as a threat to them this holiday or next.
1. Holiday Plants: Poinsettias, Holly & Christmas Trees – While keeping poinsettias out of your home this holiday may be easy, not including a Christmas tree would be pretty upsetting for most. Poinsettias are the least toxic, but still harmful for your furry pal causing digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea. Holly is extremely harmful and can cause stomach bleeding. Christmas tree water can poison your pet as preservatives, pesticides and other chemicals are added to tree water to keep it alive longer.
Definitely keep holly out of your home if you have pets. Keeping dogs and cats away from Christmas trees is next to impossible, so just made sure to watch them when home and maybe keep them in a safe room when you go out. Swap: African violet in Red, for those red and white striped vibes without the toxicity. Cover your Christmas tree water bowl.
2. Milk – most cats are lactose intolerant, and their digestive systems can’t handle dairy products. Surprising right? Seeing as every television show in history showed a scene of a pet owner leaving a saucer of milk out for their cat. Just because your cat may love it doesn’t mean it’s good for them. While the side effects aren’t astronomical—they include gas, diarrhea and bloating, much like us humans—putting your pet at risk for discomfort isn’t the kind thing to do to someone you love. If you’re leaving milk and cookies out for Santa, be sure to select a plant milk and keep it where your furry kids can’t reach them.
3. Alcohol – you may think this one is silly, but you’d be surprised, it does happen. As little as a tablespoon of alcohol can severely damage your pet’s brain and liver. While this may seem like a no brainer to some, and holiday drinks like eggnog (that contain rum) might seem like a harmless treat for your pet, it is best to keep them to yourself. Swap: Dog Wine or Cat Wine— that sounds weird, but is actually a blend of healthy oils and extracts.
4. Tinsel – Tinsel is so pretty, and even seems like a fun activity for your cat or dog to play with. But when consumed, the long, thin strands of plastic are of course not digestible, and can get wrapped around their intestines causing extreme discomfort that may result in them having to get surgery. Keep tinsel or other plastic decorations out of your home. Swap: Try natural material decorations instead, like wood.
If your pet does consume or is exposed to anything toxic or dangerous, call your vet. If it happens after hours or on a holiday, book an online vet appointment where you will receive advice that is best for your animal based on a video diagnosis.
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Photo: Chuklanov, Skosyreva, Street, Hiselius, Lewis; Unsplash.