Pet Safety is the Best Policy this Holiday Season

Just like the rest of your family, you want your pet to enjoy themselves and feel at ease during the holidays. However, this enjoyment can come at a price if you don’t keep a close eye on them! To protect your pet from preventable illness or injury this holiday season, read on for some helpful safety tips.

For additional information, you can contact our office at (217) 428-7709.

Watch Out for These Foods

For the sake of your pet’s health, we recommend not giving them table scraps whenever possible. This can foster bad habits and behaviors, lead to weight gain, and even make them sick.

These foods can be especially dangerous if your pet ingests them:

  • Meat bones – While these have always seemed like a great treat for your pet, they can actually cause a lot of problems. Meat bones are very hard and when bitten can fracture the teeth. They can also splinter into sharp fragments and, if swallowed, injure the esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
  • Garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, and chives – These tasty veggies go well with a variety of dishes, but they’re a recipe for disaster where your pet is concerned. Ingesting these in any form can cause damage to their red blood cells and cause anemia.
  • Chocolate – Your pet really shouldn’t be eating any chocolate, but bakers chocolate, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate chips are especially risky due to the amount of theobromine they contain. Theobromine is a chemical similar to caffeine and may cause tremors and heart problems in your pet. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more theobromine it has.
  • Grapes, raisins, and currants – These fruits are tasty on their own or baked into a cake. They are also a major health hazard, with the ability to induce kidney failure in pets if consumed in sufficient quantities.
  • Macadamia nuts, pecans, and walnuts – In addition to their high fat content, these assorted nuts can also cause vomiting and depression if your pet eats them.
  • Uncooked bread dough containing yeast – If your pet consumes yeast, the yeast will expand, causing the stomach to dilate and put pressure on surrounding organs. This may make breathing difficult and can result in more serious health issues.
  • Xylitol – Xylitol is often used as a sugar substitute in candy, gum, and other sweet treats. In addition to hypoglycemia, xylitol can also cause seizures and coma. Keep any and all sweets far away from your pet!

Deck the Halls Responsibly

However you choose to decorate (and celebrate), make sure that you’re careful with:

  • The tree – When the Christmas tree goes up, it often becomes an object of wonder for our pets. To keep the tree from being knocked over, make sure its stand is secure and steady, and move the tree into a corner or alcove where it’s more out of the way.
  • Pine sap and needles – Even “fresh” live trees shed needles, which can be very sharp and end up sticking to your pet’s paws, getting in their nose, or even getting into their mouth. The needles, like the tree sap, can also be toxic if they’re ingested. The water for the tree can also be toxic due to the tree sap, so keep it covered at all times.
  • Ribbons, tinsel, wrapping paper, and twine – If your pet accidentally swallows a strand of twine, ribbon, or tinsel, they could have some problems. Anything string-like is liable to cause choking, or it can even cause injury to the internal organs if it gets tangled or wrapped around something. Consuming wrapping paper or tissue paper in large quantities can result in bowel obstruction, a very serious condition.