by Dr. Josie Arbogast
It's the most wonderful time of the year- a time to spend celebrating with our friends and family members, including our furry ones! As we prepare for this holiday season, here are a few helpful tips on what you should help your pets avoid so as not to put a damper on the festivities:
Mistletoe & Holly: Whether you are decking the halls or cuddling up underneath the mistletoe this winter, be sure it's out of your pet's reach. Holly and mistletoe can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and if large amounts are ingested, and even cardiovascular problems can occur in our pets.
Lilies: Although these flowers look great in a holiday bouquet, a significant number of lily species can cause severe kidney damage in cats from ingestion of any part of the plant, including pollen that could accumulate on your cat’s fur. It’s generally recommend to not keep lilies in your home if you have a cat to be safe.
Poinsettias: It may be better to opt for the silk or artificial version when decorating with these traditional holiday plants. Poinsettias contain a sap that can cause severe GI upset and blisters in the mouth.
Tinsel: Our feline friends love bright, shiny objects and especially strings. So, when they see a tree full of tinsel - it’s game on! Although tinsel itself is not toxic, it can cause serious gastrointestinal complications such as an intestinal obstruction or blockage if swallowed.
Candles: Never leave your pet unattended around an open flame. One wrong step or wag of a tail could cause your pet to get burnt or start a house fire.
Christmas Trees: We recommend securing your Christmas tree to the ceiling or to a door frame to prevent it from tipping over and causing potential injury. This will also keep the tree water from spilling, which is not safe for our pets to drink.
Leftovers: Although our pets usually want to help us sample the spread, it's important to keep the table food to a minimum. Fatty foods, meats, and grease can cause severe gastrointestinal upset and pancreatitis.
Sweet treats: By now, most of us know that our pets should never eat chocolate, especially dark chocolate. However, it’s best to avoid feeding them sweets altogether as many of these contain an artificial sweetener known as xylitol, which can cause our pet’s blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels and require hospitalization.
Grapes/raisins: Many holiday dishes contain these fruits and if ingested, even in very small quantities, can cause acute kidney failure.
We hope you find these tips helpful, and if you have any questions you can always give us a call or shoot us an email with your questions. If you are unable to reach us and need immediate assistance due to ingestion or exposure, please contact ASPCA Animal Poison Control.