Boulder Dog Food Company, LLC wishes you, your pets and your family a safe and happy holiday season. With the best interests of dogs and cats in mind, we wanted to share some holiday safety tips.
- Don’t let your pets drink Christmas tree water. If you plan to have a Christmas tree this holiday season, we recommend that you securely anchor it in a sturdy stand in order to mitigate the risk of the tree falling and causing injury to a family pet or guest. Also take care to prevent your pets from gaining access to the Christmas tree water in the stand, and quickly clean up any water spills on the floor, as the water might contain fertilizer, toxic preservatives or harmful bacteria that could make your pet sick if ingested. As a precaution, we recommend changing the tree water frequently.
- Keep ornaments and electric lights out of the reach of your pets. Holiday lights and ornaments are beautiful to look at, but they can present a danger to pets if they break or are the target of chewing by pets. Glass and plastic ornaments can shatter and present a danger to your pet’s paws, mouth and digestive system. Further, a loose wire can deliver a potentially lethal electric shock to a pet and batteries can also cause burns or worse. Use tape to get wires out of the reach of pets and to prevent an accident.
- Skip the tinsel. Glimmering tinsel is known to attract the attention of pets (especially cats) but it can cause a lot of problems for pets if swallowed, including an obstructed digestive tract, vomiting and sometimes surgery. Tinsel can get wrapped around the base of a pet’s tongue and cause internal cuts if swallowed. We recommend skipping tinsel this holiday season and using pet friendly decorations instead.
- Choose holiday gifts wisely. If you plan to give your pet a holiday gift or stocking stuffer, we recommend a collection of healthy treats from Boulder Dog Food Company, LLC or toys that are safe and won’t fall apart. Toys are known to come apart and, if swallowed, the pieces can get stuck in the stomachs or intestines of pets, and can require surgery. For cats, we recommend keeping your cats away from ribbon, yarns and loose parts that can cause intestinal blockage and require surgery if swallowed.
- Don’t keep wrapped food items under the Christmas tree, as pets might ingest the wrapping paper or other packaging and the food items in an attempt to secure a tasty treat.
- Avoid giving your pet access to toxic foods. There are lots of foods that taste wonderful to humans but can cause problems when eaten by pets. We recommend keeping the following foods far away from your dogs and cats over the holidays (and after):
- Chocolate, which can be toxic to both dogs and cats. Dark, semi-sweet and baker’s chocolate is especially risky for dogs. If ingested, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and, in severe cases, death in pets.
- Xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener that has been shown to be toxic to pets.
- Fatty, spicy or indulgence foods (like beef fat, poultry skin and spicy foods), which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, gas and other serious gastrointestinal diseases like pancreatitis in pets.
- Raw eggs and cake batter, which might be contaminated with salmonella.
- Onion and onion powder, both of which are poisonous to pets. Onion and onion powder destroy your dog’s and cat’s red blood cells, which can result in anemia.
- Grapes and raisins, both of which contain a toxin that can cause kidney damage (and failure) among dogs and cats.
- Keep holly, mistletoe, lilies and poinsettias away from your pets! If ingested, these plants can make your pets sick. Holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and mistletoe can cause an upset stomach and cardiovascular problems in pets; both are extremely toxic to pets if eaten. Many types of lilies can also cause kidney failure in cats and poinsettia leaves can cause severe stomach upset. We recommend opting for silk or plastic plants or pet-safe bouquets and plants.
- Keep wrapping paper, tape, ribbon, scented candles and batteries away from pets to ensure they don’t unexpectedly try to make a meal of these items, which can be very hazardous to pets.
- Cover trash and remove unattended plates of food to ensure your pets don’t eat anything that will make them sick or necessitate an unplanned trip to the vet.
- Avoid giving pets alcoholic beverages, as alcoholic beverages (if ingested) can make your pets sick and can result in your pet going into a coma and possibly even death due to respiratory failure.
- Give pets a room of their own. Make sure that your pets have a quiet and comfortable place to go if they get overwhelmed by the activity of your holiday gathering, especially on New Year’s Eve when loud sounds can scare many pets. Your pets should always have fresh water in this place of retreat. Dogs and cats will appreciate having a quiet room with a cozy place to take a nap while their parents enjoy the holiday festivities.
If your pet has an unexpected emergency or gets sick this holiday season, seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian in your area.
(1) ASPCA, “Holiday Safety Tips”, available at http://www.aspca.org/print/pet-care/holiday-safety-tips
(2) VCA Animal Hospitals, “Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs”, available at http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/xylitol-toxicity-in-dogs/4340
(3) North Shore Animal League, “Avoid Holiday Hazards: Keep Your Pets Safe and Secure”, available at http://www.animalleague.org/events-news/press-center/holiday-safety-tips.html
(4) Banfield Pet Hospital, “Keep Pets Safe Over the Winter Holidays”, available at http://www.banfield.com/pet-health-resources/pet-health-concerns/pet-safety-tips/keep-pets-safe-over-the-winter-holidays