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How the Holidays Make Your Pet Sick

October 27, 2014

‘Tis the season for impeccably wrapped gifts, hand-crafted greeting cards and perfectly trimmed trees. It’s enough to drive a Pinterest perfectionist mad. So, in this season filled with gift-giving ideas, decorating tips and menu-planning advice, we’re taking a different approach by sharing some common mistakes pet owners make during the holiday. 

Fido’s water bowl hasn’t been filled in three days, yet he doesn’t seem thirsty.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires occur each year involving Christmas trees, with an additional 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting.1 Water your tree daily and keep it at least 3 feet away from heat sources. The NFPA offers these additional tips on Christmas tree safety.

Is your holiday spirit going to the dogs? 
Holiday decorations can be a hazard. Electrical cords and wires could attract chewing and noisy bells could scare your pet. A number of popular holiday plants, including mistletoe and holly, can be poisonous to your family pet. Keep holiday plants – like mistletoe, holly berries, and amaryllis – out of the reach of animals. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially poisonous plant, call your local veterinarian or the ASPCA poison hotline at 888-426-4435. For a listing of harmful plants, visit the ASPCA website.

A few of your favorite things are no-no’s for your pet.
While you’re in the holiday spirit you may give your pet a small bite of the tasty treat you are enjoying. However, traditional holiday fare can be deadly for your pet2.

  • Turkey bones can splinter once ingested
  • Fat trimmings are hard to digest and may cause pancreatitis
  • Chocolate and alcohol are both toxic
  • Dough and cake batter make the list too. The raw eggs create a salmonella bacteria concern for pets and people, but did you know raw dough may actually rise in your pets stomach?
  • Be careful, even pet treats can cause a tummy ache if you give too many in the spirit of the holiday.
  • Even too many of the appropriate pet treats can cause stomach pain and vomiting

A little careful planning and precaution – and maybe some help from Pinterest – can make the holidays a safe, happy and perfectly decorated time for all the important people and pets in your life.

1 U.S. Fire Administration, Holiday and Christmas Tree Fire Safety,   
, accessed August 2014
2 Animal Rescue League of Boston “5 Thanksgiving foods to keep off your dog’s menu” 
, accessed August 2014