Holidays can be a stressful and potentially dangerous time for your pets—there are more people in the house, strange new objects, and sights and sounds your pet isn’t accustomed to. During times of stress, your pet is more likely to do things out of character, such as chewing or eating things he or she shouldn’t. Find out how to keep your pet safe during the holidays, whether it’s the big family get together at Christmas or a backyard barbeque on the Fourth of July.
If you believe your pet has ingested a dangerous substance or object, seek medical attention immediately. Contact Germantown Vet at 240-252-7467240-252-7467 if you live in the Montgomery County, MD area.
Year-Round Pet Holiday Safety Tips
Here is a collection of helpful pet holiday safety tips for the major holidays throughout the year:
New Year’s Eve/Day
Pet Dangers – alcohol, foot items, people
One of the biggest dangers for your pet on New Year’s—especially at a New Year’s Eve party—is the people that are in your home. There are a couple reasons:
- People who have toasted in the New Year one too many times tripping over your pets or stepping on paws.
- Guests giving alcohol to your pets. Much like how humans can get alcohol poisoning, so can your pets—and because your pets weigh so much less, it takes a much smaller amount of alcohol to do the same amount of damage.
- As guests open and close the door, someone could accidentally let your pet out.
Another major danger at a party is the food. Food that is left unattended (or is given to your pet by a party-goer) could be potentially harmful for your pet. Common things like grapes, walnuts, avocados, and more could be potentially harmful to four-legged family member.
Pet Danger – chocolate
The biggest pet danger out there for Valentine’s Day is chocolate. Chocolate poisoning (also known as theobromine poisoning) can be fatal to both cats and dogs, even in low doses. This doesn’t mean you should skip out on giving your honey some sweet treats—just be sure to keep them out of reach of your furry friends.
St. Patrick’s Day
A lot of people think it’s all fun and games to give their pets alcohol—well, we’re here to tell you it’s not! Your pets can get alcohol poisoning just the same way as humans can, and because your pet weighs so much less than you, it takes a lot less alcohol to have very dangerous side effects. Only share your green beer with your two-legged friends.
Pet Dangers – chocolate, Easter lilies
We already covered the dangers of chocolate for your pets, but Easter lilies are incredibly toxic to cats. All parts of the Easter lily, including the petals, stem, leaves, and pollen, are poisonous, and a cat that ingests a small amount of pollen or leaves can suffer severe kidney failure. If you see your cat anywhere near an Easter lily, bring him or her into the vet immediately or the chances of survival are low.
If you’re a cat owner, your best bet is to skip the Easter lilies altogether—it’s just not worth the risk!
Anytime there is alcohol, food, and celebrating people, it can be a hazard for your pet. Many people have yard games at their Memorial Day celebrations, and whether it’s a rousing game of volleyball or horseshoes, make sure to keep your pet clear of any diving saves or flying items.
It’s also incredibly important to provide cool options for your outdoor pets. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can strike suddenly—just imagine you had to wear a fur coat outside all day in the heat! Provide water, shade, and let your pet inside if he or she starts panting excessively.
Check out more heat safety tips for pets »
Fourth of July
Pet Dangers – alcohol, food, fireworks, heat
As we’ve covered, alcohol, unattended food, and heat can be a danger for your pet. But one of the biggest stressors for pets on Independence Day is the fireworks show. Many dogs get frightened by the fireworks celebration—and who can blame them? What looks like a beautiful show to you is just loud noises and bright lights to your confused pup.
Pet Dangers – alcohol, food, yard games, heat
All of the dangers associated with Memorial Day can also be applied to Labor Day—and don’t forget, if you’re cooking up a delicious plate of fried chicken or buffalo wings to serve at your party, don’t give the scraps to your pets! Poultry bones of any type are small and brittle, meaning they can break and puncture your pet’s internal organs. Skip the risk, and skip the scraps.
Pet Dangers – candy, chocolate, candy wrappers, raisins, glow sticks
Not only is chocolate dangerous to your pets, but eating a large amount of candy will do more than bum out your little trick-or-treaters—it can cause pancreatitis! Candy wrappers are also hazardous for your pets because, if swallowed, they can cause a life-threatening bowel obstruction. Well-meaning neighbors might be handing out raisins, but make sure your pets don’t get into any of them. Raisins are toxic to both cats and dogs. And don’t forget those glow sticks and glow jewelry! Cats are particularly susceptible to chewing on glow sticks, and they present both a choking hazard and the contents can cause severe mouth irritation.
Pet Dangers – bones, onions and garlic, raisins
The biggest hazard for your pets around Thanksgiving is the food. As we noted earlier, poultry bones (including turkey bones) and raisins are very dangerous for your pets, and they shouldn’t be given any. But did you know onions and garlic are also bad for yours pets? They contain sulfides, which can cause the destruction of red blood cells, and they are particularly harmful for cats.
Pet Dangers – sufganiyot, onions, chocolate
As usual, most of our holiday pet safety tips for Hanukkah revolve around food. The high calorie, fat, and sugar content in sufganiyot can lead to severe gastrointestinal distress for your pets. Additionally, any holiday foods with onions, such as latkes, should be kept away from your pets—especially cats—as onions are toxic to your furry friends. And, as always, keep your pets away from anything chocolate!
Most of the holiday dangers surrounding Christmas have to do with the decorations. Many items that could be around your home could be potentially dangerous or toxic to your pets. For instance, many holiday pets, including holly, mistletoe, and poinsettia, are all poisonous to your pets, even if only a small amount is ingested.
Your Christmas tree can also be a dangerous item in your home, particularly if it gets knocked over—or is tipped over by a climbing kitty or playing pup. The ornaments on the tree can also pose a hazard, as the sparkly, shiny new objects can be very interested to your pets. However, ingesting any of the materials could be very dangerous to your pets.
Pet Dangers – food
The biggest dangers to your pets during Kwanzaa are food items, including onions, cherry tomatoes, and poultry or fish bones. As we’ve covered previously, onions and brittle bones (such as chicken and fish bones) are very hazardous to your pets, but did you know that cherry tomatoes are also toxic to cats? Even one cherry tomato can be a serious health concern!
Thankfully, many common Kwanzaa foods, such as sweet potatoes, bread, and collard greens are safe for most pets. Consult with a veterinarian for more details!
Call Germantown Vet with Questions
If you have questions about your pet’s safety this holiday, contact the experts at Germantown Vet. We can help you make sure your cat or dog has a safe and healthy holiday—and if your pet gets into something he or she shouldn’t have, you can visit our state-of-the-art animal hospital located in Germantown, MD for prompt, professional veterinary care.