Post-Holiday Pet Hazards and How to Avoid Them

Your holiday festivities are winding down by now; it’s time to put away the ornaments, string lights, menorahs, candles, presents, dreidels, bows and more. While you’re thinking about how you’re going to get everything organized in the attic, your pet is probably decompressing from all of the excitement. Even if this wasn’t his first holiday season, decorations and fixtures aren’t a part of the normal routine, which could throw him off a bit. In fact, the period right after major holidays can be a hazardous time for pets. Here are some of the top pet hazards this time of year with some ways to avoid them.

Tinsel
While tinsel looked beautiful hanging on your tree, to your dog or cat it looks like a toy or even a treat. Every year, too many pets ingest tinsel and wind up in the emergency room at the vet’s office with a digestive obstruction. Make sure to store or dispose of your holiday decorations properly to avoid this hazard.

Turkey
The smell of a roasted turkey is enough to drive your dog wild. Resist the urge to throw him scraps and leftovers. Small bones could block his throat or puncture internal organs. Plus, the high fat content could upset his stomach.

Chocolate
It’s a well-known fact amongst pet owners that chocolate is bad for pets. It triggers the nervous system and elevates heart rate, and can lead to stomach issues, vomiting, seizures and even death. While all pets will probably have adverse reactions, cats are not nearly as interested in eating chocolate as dogs are, and most likely won’t ingest dangerous quantities.

Lights and Candles
String lights look beautiful, but they’re potentially dangerous for your pets. They could get burnt touching a hot light bulb. A loose wire could give them an electric shock. Cats in particular are prone to playing with the lights and wires, so again, make sure to store or dispose of them properly. You should also be careful with candles. While they may be out of the dog’s reach, the cat might find it intriguing and jump up to investigate. Don’t leave candles unattended and try to keep them out of your pet’s reach.

Holiday Plants
Poinsettias are actually relatively harmless to pets, usually causing nothing more than an irritating but temporary reaction (still keep pets away!). However, mistletoe and holly are downright dangerous for both dogs and cats. Even ingesting a small amount of either plant can lead to an upset stomach, vomiting, irregular heart rate and rhythm, and even neurological damage. If you must have them, hang these plants high and well out of reach.

Post-Holiday Stress
An influx of parties and guests, breaks in routine and lots of strangers can be extra stressful for your pet. This can be particularly bad if your pet is older or already prone to anxiety. Get her back to her routine as quickly as possible after the holidays and make sure she has a quiet space to retreat to.

 

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