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Minnetonka, MN 55305

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Holiday Safety Tips


It’s officially time to put up those trees, light the menorah, and build a snowman! Holiday season is here and between browsing Amazon for gifts and decorating cookies, take a little time to learn more about potential hazards that come up around the holidays that can impact your pet.

The Decorations: Your holiday decorations bring joy, inspire the spirit of the holiday, and leave everyone feeling jolly having seen them. They can also look like tasty snacks and toys for your pets. String lights are some of the most common decorations at holidays and curious critters that give them a taste can wind up having a very shocking experience as well as burns inside of their mouth. Fragile items like special ornaments and other glass keepsakes can become broken and injure paws. Even unassuming plush ornaments or decorations can be mistaken for pet appropriate toys and parts and pieces can be swallowed. Make sure that all your pets time around decorations are supervised or out of reach.

A Special Note About Tinsel: A favorite snack of dogs and cats alike, tinsel is simply too beautiful, captivating, and shiny to resist for a lot of pets. Anyone that has had a pet and decorated with tinsel has probably had the unpleasant experience of removing a strand of tinsel from their pet’s butt because of their inability to resist giving it a try **if this happens to your pet and there is any resistance on the way out, bring your pet to a veterinarian immediately!** Tinsel can cause costly obstructions, and while that last bit may be comical, it is a serious issue and best to avoid the tinsel all together.

The Tree: When you put up a tree, your dogs first thought is “Finally! Some indoor plumbing!” and your cat thinks about what a great hiding spot to get away from the dog! Real or fake, all Christmas trees pose a toppling hazard that can cause injuries. Real trees that require watering can also be tempting to your pet, but there can be bacteria and pesticides from the farm lurking in the Christmas tree stand water, so be sure to keep pets at a safe distance. If you have pets, it is also best to go ahead and skip the cookie ornaments, popcorn garland, and salt dough ornaments- they can simply just be too tasty to resist. A baby gate around the tree when you are not able to supervise is a great way to help keep your pet safe.

The Menorah and Other Candles: Dancing flames are one of the most intriguing sights to cats! Keep your pets and house safe by making sure that any open flames are always supervised. Even a few seconds away from an open flame can spell disaster if your pet manages to knock it over or get too close and singe themselves.

Holiday Plants: Evergreens (yes, your tree included) can cause stomach issues due to the essential oils that make them smell so good, as well as intestinal blockage. Holly has not only sharp and pointy leaves that can tear the stomach lining, but also saponins that can cause severe irritation. Mistletoe is poisonous and even a small taste can send you and your pet to the emergency vet instead of opening presents and drinking eggnog on Christmas morning. Ready for some good news? Despite popular belief, the seasons favorite plant, the poinsettia, is not as poisonous as once thought. While the plant might still cause digestive issues and vomiting if ingested in large quantities, the poinsettia is low toxicity. Be sure to keep all festive plants out of reach and to discourage even the smallest of nibbling. When it comes to mistletoe - just skip it!

Food Dangers and Pancreatitis: One of the best things about the holidays are the wonderfully rich, creamy, salty, sugary, and tasty food traditions that we love so much! You know who else is tempted by the aroma of holiday cookies baking and juicy cuts of meat slow roasting? You guessed it, your pet! While it might be tempting to share the bounty, there are certain foods that must be avoided:

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Caffeine
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Grapes/Raisins
  • Xylitol
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Yeasted Dough

So, what about the foods we commonly think our pets will love? The fatty cuts off a standing rib roast, the leg bone from that perfectly cooked turkey, a chunk of that succulent salt cured ham. While these might seem like tasty treats, they can actually have some pretty adverse effects on our pets. After any major holiday associated with a large meal, we often see cases of pancreatitis and intestinal tears or obstructions caused by well meaning owners. Cooked bones can splinter and be very expensive to treat, an overabundance of fat leads to pancreatitis, and too much salt can lead to kidney and liver problems. When treating your pet this holiday season, stick to lean and uncured meats, steamed veggies with no seasonings, and tasty cookies that are made just for pets.

We hope that your holiday season is filled with special moments spent with your beloved pet! We know that this season will look different from holidays of the past, and we are here to help if you run into a holiday mishap.