by Terie Hansen
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. No truer words were ever spoken in regards to pet proofing your home for the holidays. With that in mind here are some hidden dangers for your pet.
Lights! Candles! Accidents!
Sparkly, dangling and sometimes moving lights are a huge enticement for many pets, especially curious cats. Tinsel looks tasty to many pets but can be fatal if ingested as it twists and bunches in your pet’s intestines. Immediate veterinary care is required.
Does your dog or cat like to chew things? Electrical cords are very attractive to many pets. I once had a cat that did just that! Bit down on the wiring from a built in stereo system (remember those? I’m dating myself now) and received a shock that burnt her whiskers, melted her tooth and knocked her so silly she was never the same! She was lucky many die from just such an action. Check your holiday lights for signs of fraying or chewing, use a grounded three prong extension cord as a precaution and unplug when not in use.
If you are using candles around your home, never, ever , ever leave them unattended! Put them in out of the way places so your pets can’t reach them. Not only can they themselves get burnt or singed but if they tip them over it’s a huge fire hazard, not to mention what a pain it is to get melted wax off furniture or worse out of carpet!
Bags, Boxes & Bows Oh My!
Wrapping and curling ribbons are irresistible to many pets. While exquisitely wrapped packages can look wonderful under your Christmas tree or as decorations themselves your pets may be tempted to chew or swallow the ribbon or bows on such packages. If ingested, they can cause vomiting, twist throughout the intestines or cause a blockage, which may result in surgery or even death. Think outside the box, use gift bags and tissue paper as a much simpler, safer and pet friendly alternative to packages with ribbon.
Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly, wait is that poisonous?
Some of the most commonly used holiday plants are poisonous to your pets. Holly used in many decorations can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea and depression. Poinsettias cause irritation to the mouth and stomach and sometimes vomiting. Mistletoe can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, erratic behavior, hallucinations and death when ingested. Pine needles can cause irritation of the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trembling and posterior weakness. And a single leaf from any Lily variety is lethal to cats!
Use silk floral arrangements for holiday decorating. You’ll not only get more bang for your buck because you can reuse them each year, but you will ensure the safety of your pets.
Rockin Around the Christmas Tree…
Be advised, cats can and will often climb the Christmas tree! We have video to prove it!! In our former home we had 13 foot ceilings hence we had the tree to match. Our younger cat Mo Mo was caught on video almost at the top of the tree! He had climbed up the inside trunk and when my husband called out to him he came leaping out of the top to an upper level room that was near the tree. It was hilarious at the time and thank goodness we had thought ahead to tie the tree in place (things you learn when you have acrobatic felines) because if we hadn’t the whole thing would have come crashing down. We did lose a few ornaments (glass) which we quickly cleaned up.
So take a moment to plan ahead and safe guard your home with your pets in mind. It will keep them happy and healthy and keep you from making an unexpected trip to the vet.