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Make the Holidays Safe for Your Pets!

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Bo, the self-appointed holiday safety guru and curious cat: Face it.  It’s the holiday season, and you are probably running around like crazy.  In fact, I can hardly believe you have the time to read this blog, but I am grateful that you are!  While you are busy decking the halls and baking holiday goodies, it is easy to forget about your four-legged friends who are in your midst.  As head honcho around here, it is my job to point out some holiday dangers that can potentially stand in your way of enjoying a fun and festive season with your pet.

The poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, lilies, and even your tree can be harmful to your pet.  If your pet consumes any of these, they can prove to be toxic, depending upon how much your pet ingests.

The sap from a poinsettia and the fir tree oil in the needles and branches of the tree can cause vomiting and/or irritation in your pet’s mouth and throat.  However, it would take a huge amount of these substances to actually be poisonous.  Besides, the sap and the oil taste disgusting, so, unless your pet has no taste buds whatsoever, I think he will be more likely to counter surf the selection of homemade goodies as opposed to gnawing on your tree. But watch those goodies, too.  The fat, chocolate, and nuts are not good for pets, either.

Pets are curious and will chew on just about anything, so be careful of ribbons, bows, garland, and holiday wrapping paper.  You’d be surprised as to what a dog finds fascinating and worthy of a good chew.  You don’t want your pet to experience a choking hazard.

If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure you cover the stand so your pet cannot get into the water.  If, for whatever reason, you are unable to cover the stand, then do not add any chemicals, aspiring, or tree preservative that are used to keep the tree fresh.

Quite frankly, I would simply advise keeping the mistletoe and holly berries out of your home.  When consumed in large amounts, they can be highly toxic.  If your pet does get into any of these, head to the vet immediately!

Lilies are beautiful flowers.  With the many different varieties, you can make a beautiful arrangement to decorate your home.  However, if a cat ingests just a tiny amount, it can cause kidney failure and death.  If your cat has eaten part of a lily, the symptoms will present in about 12 hours, and will include vomiting, seizures, tremors, and lethargy.  Within 36 hours, renal failure can set in, and by that time, it will be too late to save your cat.  Even if your cat has brushed up against the flowers and gets some pollen onto her fur, get her bathed immediately.  If you suspect she has eaten any of the flowers, err on the side of caution and get her to the vet.  Don’t just wait for the symptoms to appear.

Finally, if you have guests over who are not accustomed to pets, they may inadvertently feed your pet something it should not have, such as chocolate, cooked bones, fat, and other foods not appropriate for a pet.  Your best bet is to keep your pet in another room when company visits so that he is away from all of the action.  Don’t worry.  He will be fine.  It’s just your way of expressing how much you love him! The gift of safety is one of the best gifts you can give your pet this holiday season!

(Thanks to for this great insight and helpful information!)


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