While we are making our festive holiday plans, we don't want to forget our furry friends. And although Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah are times of giving, there are some things that we shouldn't share with our pets. Knowing the hazards can help make holidays happy for everyone.
The holiday turkey or chicken, although tempting, can contain small bones that can lodge in the throat, stomach, or intestinal tract. Steak and ham bones are dangerous too. Feeding your dog or cat fatty or rich foods can lead to an upset stomach or pancreatitis, a serious medical condition. And remember that chocolate is toxic to pets.
Holiday plants such as holly and mistletoe are also very poisonous if eaten. Although not truly toxic, the poinsettia can cause severe gastrointestinal distress. Ingested evergreen needles can puncture the intestines so clean under the tree frequently. Be careful not to add preservatives, sugar, or aspirin to the tree stand water if your pet has access.
Holiday ornaments that are sharp, edible, or breakable should be kept out of reach. String ornaments such as ribbon and tinsel are especially dangerous, as they can wrap around intestines or ball up in the stomach, causing obstruction. Holiday lights mean more electrical cords for kittens and puppies to chew. Be sure you have cords secured and out of the way.
With everyone coming and going, watch out for open doors and sneaky pets. Make sure your pets have updated collars and tags on in case of escape. Microchipping your pet will also help. Ask guests to keep an eye out for pets under foot and remind them that sometimes your normally friendly dog or cat may be less than willing to deal with enthusiastic children and rooms full of unfamiliar people. Provide a special quiet place with a blanket and fresh water for your pets to retreat to when the festivities get too stressful.