Holiday Hazards: Keeping Your Dog Safe During the Holidays
Written By: Dr. Ryan Rucker, Veterinary Advisor

Already putting up your holiday decorations? Don't worry! We're not judging. ;)

Now that the holidays are coming around, it's extra important to make sure your four-legged friend stays safe and Zesty for all the festivities to come! That's why we're here to share a few handy holiday tips to get you and your furry fave ready for a fun time. 

Paws Off the Dinner Table!

When I think of the holidays, a huge feast always comes to mind. I’m especially a sucker for a good dessert table! But, even though it might be tempting to share, be sure to “people food” out of reach from your pets.

This includes our beloved holiday desserts and treats such as chocolates, which contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol which may cause an upset stomach. Another tip is to avoid the temptation to share leftovers or unwanted bones. In particular, bones have splinters and can harm pets by puncturing their intestinal tracts which is painful and can be deadly. In general, a few specific foods to avoid are nuts, garlic, onions, cheese, and grapes.

You can make your dog feel extra special for the holidays with Zesty Paws® Flavor Infusions. These delicious products focus on your pet’s continued functional wellness... and they taste impossibly amazing, too!

Avoid Poisonous Plants

Keep holiday plants away from pets, as beautiful as they are. Seasonal plants may cause nausea, vomiting and dog diarrhea for pets if ingested. Some holiday plants that are extra harmful and toxic to pets include:

  • Poinsettia: The radiant red Poinsettia, in particular, is very toxic to cats and dogs because they contain an irritant sap that may cause irritation to the mouth or stomach and may cause vomiting.
  • Lily: The Stargazer Lily plant is known to be toxic for cats, and if consumed, it may trigger some poisonous reactions, including vomiting, tiredness, kidney failure and even death.
  • Mistletoe: The popular Mistletoe plant contains toxic Toxalbumin, Lectins, and Phoratoxins that are harmful to pets, and when ingested, it may cause dog diarrhea, low blood pressure and heart rate, and difficulty breathing.

Holiday Décor

Holiday traditions may look only like decorations to us. But our pets may think they are fun play toys. Uh-oh!

Therefore, it’s vital to pet-proof any décor that your four-legged friend can get their paws on to avoid potential disaster. Even though these When putting up the holiday tree, make sure the tree is sturdy and doesn’t have a chance of falling or tempt your cat to climb the tree and get their claws on the ornaments.

Speaking of which, I recommend removing decorations such as ornaments and tinsel, as well as keeping ribbons and gift-wrapping paper away from pets. These can all be dangerous and pose a choking hazards when ingested and cause internal damage.

Also, keep wires and extension cords away from your pets to avoid electrocution. Finally, don’t leave pets unattended near lit candles, so they don’t burn themselves or start a fire.

Nervous Pet? Here's What to Do

Prepare your pets for unfamiliar guests in case they get scared, hyperactive, or nervous around other people they don’t know, so the holiday season can safely bring together faces that are unfamiliar to your pets (Hi, Uncle Frank!).

I recommend Calming Bites to help keep them relaxed. The soft chews may help to promote calmness and composure to help your cat or dog feel more comfortable during normal stressful situations. Another way to ease the situation for your furry friends is to set a safe place for them to play and get away from guests and loud noises. This will allow them to have the space to be alone and enjoy some playtime.

In case of any holiday emergency, make sure you have an emergency pet kit on hand, have a nearby emergency pet clinic you know and be aware of their holiday hours. Keep your pets healthy and filled with joy by keeping them safe and safe during this happy time.

Spreading holiday cheer,

Dr. Rucker

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