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5 expert tips on celebrating a safe and festive holiday with your pet

by Minden Press-Herald

The holidays, along with all of its festive decorations, provides additional chewing opportunities for our furry friends – and potential emergency visits to the veterinarian. So as we all start to deck the halls this holiday season, Trupanion, a leader in medical insurance for cats & dogs, offers up these 5 tips to enjoy a safe and festive holiday with your pet.

1) Tinsel

Tinsel and ribbon can cause a tangled mess in the intestines if swallowed by a pet – ideally it should not be used in households with cats. 

2) Ornaments

Make sure to hang any small or fragile ornaments high enough on your tree to avoid the wagging tail of your dog or a paw swipe from your cat.

3) Snow globes

Snow globes can contain ethylene glycol (antifreeze). If you drop and break one, they can cause a lot of harm, especially to your small dog, puppy, or cat. If they lick up the liquid, immediately go to the closest emergency veterinary hospital!

4) Holiday lights

Pets are drawn to holiday lights, just like we are. The only difference is they may be tempted to chew on them. Be sure to also keep the electrical cords taped down or out of reach.

5) Holiday plants and trees

Many holiday plants can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested by your dog or cat.  These include holly, mistletoe and amaryllis.  Lilies are also extremely toxic for cats, even contact with the pollen or water in the vase may be enough to cause kidney failure.

“If you do have a tree as part of your holiday celebrations, they are quite the treasure trove of mischief to cats as they present an opportunity to climb, house many dangling ornaments which look like toys, and have needles which cats love to chew,” said Dr. Caroline Wilde, staff veterinarian at Trupanion. “There isn’t much we can do to suppress those innate instincts, but we can try to maximize the safety of the tree.”

Here are some steps pet parents can take:

  1. Avoid tinsel in any home with cats, as they love to eat it, and it can then cause intestinal obstruction in the form of a linear foreign body.
  2. Vacuum shed needles frequently. Swallowed needles can potentially cause GI irritation and obstruction.
  3. Wrap the base of the trunk in tin foil to help deter climbing
  4. Keep the bigger, more breakable items out of the cat’s reach, to minimize the risk of them falling and breaking into pieces.
  5. Avoid adding fertilizer to the water in the base, because if your cat decides to drink the water, the chemicals can be quite toxic.

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