While the holidays can be a fun filled time for people and pets alike, there are certain holiday traditions that can create dangerous situations for pets. Besides the more commonly known potential dangers like chocolate, tinsel and alcohol, there are others that you should be aware of:
- Candles – while candles create a beautiful holiday ambiance, they can easily be tipped over by curious or excited pets. The risk of fire or burns is always present and caution should be used when candles are burning.
- Macadamia nuts – many are not aware that macadamia nuts can be very toxic to dogs. Ingestion can cause weakness in back legs, diarrhea, vomiting or pancreatitis.
- Blue cheese – cheeses like blue cheese and Roquefort contain the substance roqueforine C, which dogs can be very sensitive to in larger amounts.
- Snow globes – some imported snow globes may contain antifreeze which is very toxic to pets, even in small amounts. The danger is in snow globes that are knocked over, broken and ingested.
- Liquid potpourris contain essential oils and cationic detergents which can cause severe irritation to the mouth, eyes or skin. They are also toxic if ingested.
- Poinsettias, mistletoe and ivy can be mildly toxic to pets if eaten. Lillies however are very dangerous and can be extremely toxic to cats, causing life threatening kidney failure. If your cat chews on a lilly plant, you should seek immediate medical attention.
- Christmas tree preservatives, whether commercial or homemade can pose danger to pets. Commercial preservatives often contain some kind of fertilizer, some type of sugar, and/or fungicides. Home-made preservative recipes can contain anything from lemon-lime soda, sugar, and corn syrup, to aspirin, bleach, whiskey, vinegar or lemon juice. Many of these ingredients have the potential to create problems if ingested. Untreated water can contain bacteria that can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Allium species such as garlic, chives and onions can be toxic to dogs. Be aware of these ingredients in holiday dishes.
- Accidental escape – pets may be at increased risk for accidentally slipping out an open door when guests arrive or when the Christmas tree or gifts are brought into the house. With all of the commotion during the holidays, pets can be anxious or stressed making them potentially more apt to dart out an open door.
While the holidays can be fun and exciting for our furry friends, they also can pose dangers that are not as common during other times of the year. Being aware and diligent in keeping pets away from these dangers will help to ensure that a joyous and stress free holiday season will be had by all.