Help ensure your pets have a happy holiday by keeping these five tips in mind.
- Candles and Trees. Trees and decorations are beautiful, but can pose a danger to your pets. Cats may attempt to climb and/or use the trunk as a scratching post, causing the tree to fall and potentially resulting in injury. Keep your tree secure by using a stable stand or tying the top or sides of the tree to a hook in the ceiling or an adjacent wall. Additionally, if candles are part of your décor, consider using secure candle holders or flickering battery-operated lights to help protect your pet and avoid a fire hazard.
- Ornaments, Ribbon, and Tinsel. Ornaments can look like playful toys however, if ingested, can cause an obstruction in the stomach or intestines and may require surgical removal. If glass ornaments are chewed, your pet can sustain lacerations to their mouth and tongue. To reduce these risks, consider using durable plastic ornaments and/or place ornaments out of the reach of your pet. Additionally, cats love the feel of chewing tinsel and ribbons. However, if ingested, these decorative items can cause an intestinal blockage becoming a surgical emergency. If your pet is likely to eat ribbons, ornaments, or tinsel, try to avoid decorating with these items. If you suspect that your dog or cat may have eaten a foreign object, visit your veterinarian for an examination and possibly x-rays.
- Electrical Cords. Chewing on electrical cords can result in serious injuries such as electrical shock and oral burns. If your pet seems interested in chewing electrical cords, take precautions to limit their exposure to holiday lights. For example, electrical cord covers and/or cord organizers can be useful in making electrical cords less accessible and/or out of sight.
- Stress. Holidays and family gatherings can be stressful for pets; especially cats, as most tend to be shy and require their own space to feel safe. To help avoid unnecessary stress, consider restricting your cat to a relatively quiet room with access to hiding places and a litter box until the guests are gone. Preserving your pet’s normal schedule to the greatest extent possible can also be helpful in alleviating anxiety and/or stress.
- Doors. As house guests come and go, the frequent door opening can create an escape hazard for your pet. Be careful around doors or consider placing your pet in a quiet room where they can’t escape as guests arrive and depart. Ensuring your pet is microchipped and/or wearing identification on their collars at all times can also help get them home quicker should they happen to escape.
BY WESTVET’S EMERGENCY MEDICINE VETERINARIANS