Holiday Pet Hazards to Remember This Year

Katie will be making sure Lucy does not eat any ribbon this year. Photo Credit / Kathleen Kraemer
Katie will be making sure Lucy does not eat any ribbon this year. Photo Credit / Kathleen Kraemer
Katie will be making sure Lucy does not eat any ribbon this year. Photo Credit / Kathleen Kraemer

Katie will be making sure Lucy does not eat any ribbon this year.
Photo Credit / Kathleen Kraemer

By Janice Tieperman
Science Editor

The holiday season is known for its bountiful selection of festive smells and flavors that can be enjoyed by nearly the entire family. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always include pets.

Due to an increased amount of publications on the topic, the general populace has become more informed with each passing year on what holiday décor and dining selections are toxic to their household pets.

Nevertheless, with winter break just around the corner, here are a few reminders of some holiday items that are particularly bad for your pets.

Tinsel may be one of the most festive items in holiday decoration, but it can prove to be quite dangerous when left within reach of pets.

“The problem with tinsel is that once it’s consumed, it can cause serious injury to your pet. If not caught in time, this foreign body ingestion could be fatal as it twists and bunches inside your pet’s intestines,” the website of Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) warns.

This can be an especially big issue for cat-owners, as cats are often drawn to the shiny qualities of tinsel and view it as a toy.

Ribbons also appeal greatly to cats, and can cause similar issues.

“My cat Lucy loves ribbon. She makes it impossible to wrap presents because she constantly steals the ribbon to play with. I let her play, but I watch her closely to make sure she doesn’t eat any or accidently strangle herself with it,” explains ESU junior Katie Kraemer.

While this may be a bit of a no-brainer, candles and electrical cords are a big no-no when put within easy reach of a pet.

“Electrical shock may occur when a pet chomps down on an electrical cord, causing tongue lacerations and possible death,” VPI continues.

Finally, its important to remember that many foods typically consumed on the holidays can be fatal if consumed by your furry friends.

Although its one of the oldest rules in the book, chocolate is eternally off-limits to pets.

The VPI website notes that the side effects of chocolate consumption by pets can range from hyperactivity to abnormal brain functions, such as seizures.

Many kinds of nuts can also serve a danger to pets.

“Almonds, non-moldy walnuts and pistachios can cause an upset stomach or obstruction of a dog’s throat and/or intestinal tract,” VPI warns.

It’s not just desserts that hold a danger to our household companions.

“Fat trimmings and bones are dangerous for dogs,” VPI states, “and fat trimmed from meat, both cooked and uncooked, may cause pancreatitis.”

This is only the tip of the iceberg for common holiday hazards, but a more complete listing can be found on the websites of both VPI and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Keep your holiday spirits high, and don’t forget to make sure your pet’s spirits stay high as well!

Email Janice at:
jtieperman@live.esu.edu

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