Have a Happy & Safe Holiday – Dangers your family pet can face during the holiday season.

By: Denise Koslowsky



Last week we shared an article discussing toys that are dangerous for kids, so this week we thought we would focus on dangers another beloved family member could face during the holiday season.  We know you love your pets (we do too) so we wanted to offer some information that could help you keep them safe!


Below are 5 Holiday Hazards for pets:

The twinkling lights, the beautifully decorated tree covered with glittery tinsel and the brightly colored ornaments are all things that can cause harm to your pets.  Not to mention the abundance of festive holiday plants like poinsettias, mistletoe and holly. Watch your pets carefully around your holiday decorations and consider what items are safe to bring into your home.

Live Christmas trees come with additional hazards.  Pine needles can get lodged in paws and the water reservoir your tree needs to stay green can be toxic if your pet decides to drink from it. 

You also need be cautious when using an open flame.  The cozy fireplace, the glow of candles and the Hanukah menorah can all be hazardous if left unattended when your pets are free to roam in your house.
Even though it is tempting to sneak tasty treats from the table to your pet, please be cautious.  Feeding animals foods that are outside of their normal diet can cause distress to their digestive system.  Also there are a few common foods that are potentially poisonous.  Don’t allow your pet to have:

  • Onions & Garlic
  • Grapes & Raisins
  • Raw meat & Fish
  • Yeast
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Xylitol – an artificial sweetener found in gum & candy

If your pet ingests an item on the no-no list above, please call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435

As family and friends gather in your home for holiday festivities, be sensitive to the fact that this can cause stress for your pet. If your furry family is not used to little children, it might be wise to keep them separated from your pet if possible.  You should also be on alert for well meaning guests who are tempted to share a piece of their fruit cake with your pooch.  Remember, certain foods are toxic and even a small amount can cause harm.

A final word of caution when it comes to guests…
People who may be spending the night in your home may need to be reminded to keep their personal items out of your pet’s reach.  Animals are curious and could venture into a guest bedroom and ingest medication that has been left lying around.  Take extra care to close doors and remind your guests to store any personal items out of harm’s way.

Hustle & Bustle
Animals are creatures of habit. While the hustle & bustle of the season is all part of the fun, remember that it can cause stress for your furry family.  Plus, all the coming and going creates opportunities for your pet to escape. It might be a good idea to keep your pets away from entrances and exits to and from your home if possible.

The holiday season is often centered around the giving of gifts.  Be cautious during gift exchanges of toys that are automated or move that might frighten your pets and beware of toys with small parts.  Little kids will often rip open the packaging to play with their gifts right away only to abandon the pieces and move on to the next toy.  Your pet doesn’t understand that the small shiny object is not a chew toy!

Also be cautious when giving gifts to your pets.  Even a toy that is very popular can be a danger if it is ingested.  One of our Advocate employees, Raquel de Pisani, found that out the hard way when her 6 year old Persian cat was excited to play with a small furry toy mouse. When she woke up the next morning, he would not eat and the toy was missing.  A trip to the vet and an x-ray revealed that her cat Leonidas had swallowed the toy and had to have it removed surgically.  Luckily Leonidas is okay, and although the hefty vet bill put a dent in her holiday spending, Raquel is happy he is doing well.  She shared “My animals are the loves of my life and if I had lost him, it would have been devastating”.

We would hate for a very expensive vet bill (or an injury to your beloved pet) to put a damper on your holiday celebration!  We hope you found our list of pet holiday hazards helpful.  Please share this article with anyone who has pets and will be hosting a holiday celebration.

From all of us at Advocate Brokerage, Happy Holidays!


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