Holiday Pet Safety Tips for the Newport News Community

It’s getting colder and darker, which means the holiday season is upon us! Festive lights, plush pine trees, and the smells of rich foods fill our home. Unfortunately, many of the things we love about the holidays are actually hazardous to our pets. Luckily, there are ways to both enjoy all the festivities and keep our pets safe, too. Follow our animal hospital's holiday pet safety tips for a fun, safe season.

Decorating with Pet Safety in Mind

Decorations come in many forms, and while all are harmless if left alone, playful pets are likely to disturb the peace and possibly cause injury to themselves. When you’re decorating this year, keep these potentially dangerous decorations in mind:

  • The Christmas tree is easily toppled over by a playful pet who may want to climb it or swat at the ornaments. Anchor it to the floor or use fishing line to secure it to the ceiling or a nearby doorframe.
  • Ornaments come in many forms, some of which can shatter and damage soft paw pads or mouths and others which can break apart or be engulfed whole causing an intestinal blockage.
  • Tinsel is a thing of your cat’s dreams. It dangles; it sparkles; what more could a cat ask for? Unfortunately, its stringy, breakable nature makes unintentional swallowing a little too easy, and even a small piece can cause damage to your cat’s intestinal system, so keep it out of kitty’s reach!
  • Potpourris may seem like sweet-smelling treats to pets, but a chomp on their hard, dried out pieces can mean an intestinal blockage worthy of surgery.

Don’t Share the Table Scraps

Our human foods can contain a lot of ingredients that are dangerous to our pets. Some of the parts we don’t eat shouldn’t be shared with them, either! Keep these table scraps on the table or toss them out:

  • Candy and baked goods are all too sugary and fatty for our pets to ingest without suffering stomach upset, or worse. Some sweets contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to pets.
  • Fatty meats such as ham, gristle, and turkey skin are very unhealthy to our pets and can cause a life-threatening condition called pancreatitis.
  • Onions and garlic, as well as their cousins, leeks and shallots, are common ingredients in many of our dishes, but these pungent veggies are toxic to pets.
  • Chocolate is a well-known toxin, and the darker the chocolate, the higher the level of toxicity!

Have any other concerns or questions about holiday pet safety? Let us know and we’ll be happy to help in any way we can.