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Decorations Pets Should Avoid Amid Holidays

Christmas is fast approaching which means decorations in our homes.

Before you start picking out your decorations though, it’s important to consider if they could pose some kind of threat to your pets. Many of the popular Christmas decorations we use are not exactly safe for our beloved cats and dogs.

Let’s talk about those different decorative items and examine if they are safe to use inside a holiday home with pets. After all, you don’t want your holidays taking a turn for the worse because of an unfortunate accident.

In this article, we’ll highlight some of the Christmas decorations that could double as potential health hazards to your pet. Make note of them as you decorate to ensure that your holiday home is safe for your canine and feline companions.

1. Poinsettia

The poinsettia is a popular piece of Christmas décor. Its bright red color is often an indicator that the holiday season is upon us.

Before gathering a bundle of poinsettia to use as décor inside your home, take a moment to consider what it can do to your pets. Consuming large amounts of poinsettia can lead to vomiting and discomfort in both cats and dogs. Granted, we are talking about a really large amounts here so a leaf or two isn’t going to do much harm.

Avoiding poinsettia altogether is not necessary, but you should place it somewhere that your pets cannot easily reach. It’s also a good idea to limit how much of it you use inside your home.

2. Mistletoe

Mistletoe is yet another popular item found inside homes during the holiday season. It’s similar to poinsettia in the sense that it becomes toxic to pets when consumed in large amounts.

As much as possible, be careful where you place the mistletoe to keep your pets from reaching it. According to the FDA, the “major toxic chemicals in mistletoe are lectins and phoratoxins”. If your pet consumes too much of mistletoe, he/she could suffer from diarrhea, vomiting, and labored breathing.

3. Holly

Before you deck your halls with boughs of holly, note as well that this plant can be toxic to your cat and/or dog. Varieties include English holly, American holly, Christmas holly and Japanese holly.  “Although some are less toxic than others, it is best to keep your dog away from any variety” according to AKC. It causes the same kinds of health problems that the two aforementioned plants do.

Considering the risks decorating with holly presents, it’s important to handle it carefully. Once again, limiting its usage and keeping it far from the reach of pets is recommended.

4. Yew

Yew is sometimes used as a substitute for the Christmas tree due to its appearance. Think twice about using it in that capacity though. According to Pet Poison Helpline, “all parts of the plant (including the succulent, red berries) are very poisonous, as they contain taxines”.

Toxins found in yew are known to cause life-threatening conditions in pets. Steer clear of this holiday plant as much as possible.

5. Christmas Cactus

Compared to some of the plants we’ve already talked about, the Christmas cactus is not as dangerous to cats and dogs. According to Ambius, “the fibrous plant material of the cactus can cause vomiting and diarrhea in mass quantities”. Pick out a safe spot for the Christmas cactus and keep its prickly exterior away from your animal companions.

6. Pine Cones

You shouldn’t fear pine cones because they can release toxic substances that can be harmful to animals. Instead, your main concern here should be your pet choking on the pine cone. Bigger pine cones can block an animal’s airway and cause a serious problem.

7. Presents

The presents themselves are not the problem here. The real hazards are the wrappers and ribbons used to cover them. Those wrappers and ribbons can cause blockages if they wind up in your pet’s stomach.

8. Christmas Lights

You don’t need to let your imagination run wild to come up with a scenario wherein your pet is injured by your Christmas lights. Put them up haphazardly and your pet could get tangled up in them. According to Preventive Vet, “pets that chew on electric cords can sustain burns on their tongues and elsewhere in their mouth”.  Another hazard is cats and dogs may try to eat those Christmas lights and electrocute themselves in the process.

9. Tinsel

Tinsel can be mesmerizing to pets easily drawn to shiny things. Allowing your pet to play around with tinsel while you watch is fine. Leaving your cat or dog alone with the tinsel is not a good idea though as it can cause blockages after being consumed.

10. Batteries

Batteries are bad news for your pets because they are easy to swallow because of how small they are. According to Animal Emergency Center, “alkaline batteries can cause irritation or obstruction in the {pet’s} digestive tract”. Don’t leave any batteries on the ground while presents are being opened unless you want to endanger your pets.

11. Chocolate

The harmful effects of chocolate on pets are well documented. You’re likely well aware of them already. Keep the chocolates on the table where your pets cannot easily get to them to prevent unnecessary accidents.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, “the darker and less sweet the chocolate, the more toxic it can be to dogs (dogs make up 95% of our chocolate calls, as cats are usually too discriminating to eat large amounts of chocolate)”.

12. Guests

Lastly, you should also exercise a bit more caution if you’re having guests over for Christmas. Cats and dogs can behave unpredictably at times and that may happen as soon as they see unfamiliar faces in your home.

Give them an opportunity to meet your guests first before allowing them to mingle. Also consider sticking close to your pets so they don’t have to be afraid of the new people around.

Christmas is a time for celebration! By being mindful of the items mentioned in this article, you can ensure that the celebration will only be joyful instead of being tinged with tragedy.

Do you need someone to watch your pet while you’re getting your home ready for the holidays? If so, feel free to reach out to us at TAILored Pet Services for assistance.

We can keep a close eye over your pet as you get all your Christmas decorations set up Learn more about the different ways we can help by calling 425-923-7791 or visiting dog boarding or cat sitting pages.

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