This mischievous photo of “Gus” was sent in for the Cutest Pet in the Pines contest in 2016. If Gus is your cat, email editor@castlepinesconnection to receive a $25 gift card.
By Susan Helton; courtesy photo
A few pet safety considerations can help keep the holiday season happy for the whole family.
Holiday Plants: Many plants can make pets sick, or worse, if ingested. These include holly, mistletoe, amaryllis, lilies (especially toxic to cats), daffodils, Christmas kalanchoe, Christmas rose, coleus, cyclamen, English ivy, Jerusalem cherry, azaleas and poinsettia. Keep these holiday plants, and any plants treated with pesticides, away from pets.
The fibrous material of the Christmas cactus and oils produced by Christmas trees can irritate pets’ insides. Pines can be toxic to cats and ingested evergreen needles create a risk of gastrointestinal punctures for all pets. Additionally, keep pets from drinking the water from a live tree; it can make them extremely sick.
Candles: Special holiday candles, such as those in the Chanukah menorah and Kwanzaa kinara, can pose hazards for pets. Mischievous paws or wagging tails could topple lit candles resulting in burns to pets or even house fires. Always supervise pets around lit candles.
Tree decorations: To keep both pets and decorations safe, place ornaments and lights higher on the tree, away from the lower branches, and secure ornaments by closing both ends of the hooks. Avoid edible decorations, which can entice pets to misbehave, and tinsel, which can choke pets and create dangerous intestinal obstructions.
To help keep cats away from the tree, use a scent they dislike – like citronella or orange. Consider securing the tree to the wall or ceiling using fishing line and hooks, or use a heavy stand, to help keep it upright.
Holiday foods: Many people-foods are bad for pets (see last month’s issue of The Connection Pet Corner). December holidays bring more treats to keep away from pets, such as Chanukah’s chocolate gelt, latkes, rugelach and sufganiyot. Any foods containing coffee or caffeine are definite no-nos for pets. Keep foods containing avocado away from pet birds; avocado can make them extremely sick. Christmas advent calendars with daily surprise treats also pose a risk to pets.
Gifts and toys: Scissors can be a pet safety hazard and packing materials, wrapping paper, tape, string, ribbons and bows can spell trouble if a pet eats them. Keep pets away from all those things. And keep game pieces – the Chanukah dreidel, for example – away from curious pets; they pose a choking hazard.
As always, contact your veterinarian with questions and concerns. Keep those pets safe and have a wonderful holiday season!