Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital’s Blog
Deck the Halls: Decorations and Holiday Pet Safety
Adorning our homes with lights, bells, baubles, and greenery is a beloved holiday tradition for families all over the world. But if there’s a pet living in your home, there’s more to consider than just where to hang the mistletoe.
Holiday pet safety is an important part of our seasonal planning, and certain decorations can put pets at risk for illness, injury, or worse.
Some of the most common elements of seasonal decor are also the most dangerous for our four-legged companions. Consider the following:
- Tinsel – Cats tend to find tinsel irresistible, but if ingested, it can become lodged in the digestive tract, resulting in a dangerous intestinal blockage. To keep your pet safe, just say no to tinsel.
- Ornament hooks – Some pets just can’t stay away from the ornaments, but the unprotected hooks can get snagged in a pet’s mouth, paws, and even their eyes. Try using ribbon or fishing line to hang your ornaments instead.
- Lights – Strings of electric lights can present a danger of entanglement and may even cause electric shock if chewed on by a pet. Hang lights where pets can’t reach them.
- Christmas trees – There’s something about a decorated tree that brings out a sense of adventure in many pets. Be sure to anchor your tree to prevent toppling and don’t allow your pet to drink the water as it may contain hazardous preservatives, fertilizers, or fire retardant chemicals. Pine needles can also be toxic if ingested.
- Lit candles – This one is obvious, but it pays to remember that a lit candle and a curious pet is a recipe for disaster. Utilize electric candles or supervise pets while real candles are in use.
- Gift wrapping – Pets love to rummage in the chaos during “the great unwrapping,” but the ribbon, tape, twist-ties, wound up paper, staples, and sharp edges can cause injury. Collect and dispose of wrapping items promptly.
- Advent calendars – Chocolates and small toys can cause big trouble for curious dogs. Keep advent calendars and their contents where pets can’t reach them.
- Plants – If ingested by a pet, holly, mistletoe, amaryllis, and poinsettia can cause symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal distress to poisoning.
Holiday Pet Safety
A little common sense goes a long way when it comes to holiday pet safety. Keep breakable ornaments, family heirlooms, and edible treats out of your pet’s reach, and aim to keep familiar comforts such as their bed and food bowls in the same place. Maintaining your pet’s routine as normal as possible throughout the holidays and getting plenty of exercise can also cut down on anxiety and mischief-making.