How to be – safely – jolly!

The holiday season is quickly approaching and that means the things that may be joyful to you, may be harmful to your fur babies.

This time of year brings a bunch of hazards for our pets like unhealthy snacks, toxic plants and dangerous decorations. For whichever holiday you may be celebrating, the ASPCA provides the Animal Poison Control Centre’s (APCC) top ten holiday pet hazards.

Delicious treats (for you) but not for your pet include the following: Alcohol, Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine, Citrus, Coconut and Coconut Oil, Grapes and Raisins, Macadamia Nuts, Milk and Dairy, Nuts, Onions, Garlic, Chives, Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones, Salt and Salty Snack Foods, Xylitol, artificial sweetener, and Yeast Dough. For information on the specific effects of these foods, please check ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

Watch out for wires. Keep wires and batteries away from pets. Wires can deliver potentially lethal electric shocks and batteries, if punctured, can cause burns to the mouth and throat.

Mistletoe, oh no! Both mistletoe and holly can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems if ingested. Many types of lilies that are typically found in holiday bouquets can cause kidney failure in cats. Poinsettias can also make pets sick with mild to moderate gastrointestinal irritation. So, be sure to decorate out of paws’ reach.

Rockin’ around the Christmas tree. The Christmas tree happens to pose a quite few potential threats to our furry companions. If you are planning to put up a Christmas tree, make sure it is tightly secured so there is no chance it can tip over and hurt any pets nearby.

Make sure the tree water is covered and/or inaccessible to curious pets. Tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria that could cause nausea, diarrhea or stomach upset.

You can’t see the contents of a wrapped present, but pets might smell it. Be sure to keep wrapped food off the ground!

Steer clear of tinsel for decoration. Ingested tinsel can cause severe vomiting, obstructed digestive tract, dehydration and could even require surgery. Stick to lights and ornaments instead!

Be cautious of candles. Whether you are lighting a menorah or filling your home with cookie-scented candles, make sure you do not leave any candles unattended. Curious paws and happy wagging tails could knock them over, potentially burning your pet or starting a fire.

Loud noises. It can be easy to forget that our pets may be sensitive to loud sounds while having fun. Loud music, fireworks, celebratory poppers or noisemakers or crowds can scare our companions. Make sure there is a safe space your pet can retreat to if they need some quiet time, like an interior room.

Talkin’ trash. While it may be the last thing on your mind throughout the day, our smart pets know where they can find some sneaky leftovers. Make sure you take out the trash or secure the lids on any garbage cans that may have food, broken decorations, or any other holiday hazards inside. (Some of us have tied off the cupboard with the kitchen garbage to ensure no wandering noses find their way in…).

Broken snow globes. Snow globes are made with ethylene glycol, the same chemical used in antifreeze, which is highly toxic to all pets. If a snow globe breaks, the sweet smell can attract pets to taste it, leading to potentially fatal intoxication. So, be sure to keep them away from pets and thoroughly clean up any accidental breakages.

Salty hazards. Ice melt and salt-dough ornaments—even when dry—may be enticing to pets but can cause life-threatening imbalances in electrolytes. Consider using pet-friendly ice-melting agents!

Mind your medication. Or that of your guests! If you are planning on having guests stay with you, make sure they keep any medication away from pets. Those unfamiliar with pets may not know how curious some of our furry friends can be, so have houseguests leave their medication in a closed cabinet rather than a bag or suitcase.

Have a great holiday season, and make sure your pet does too!