Watch Out for These December Pet Dangers

December 2nd, 2014 by Daniel Mudrick

December is the holiday season, filled with snow for frolicking, food for savouring, and time for cherishing.

However, in the midst of the merriment, it’s important to take note of the potential dangers to our beloved pets. Some of these hazards only show up in December, as we make our homes ready with holiday decorations, while others are present throughout the cold months.

Here is our list of common December dangers to protect your pets from:

Dangerous Decorations

  • Electrical cords on Christmas lighting

This is the biggest holiday danger. Pets will chew these indoor Christmas lights, which can cause injury or death from electric shock. Exposed wires can also cause fires in your home.

  • Christmas trees and ornaments

Cats or dogs may bite the ornaments, and could even end up eating the glass. Tinsel is particularly of concern, as cats like to eat it but it can cause serious intestinal problems.

Cats often try to climb your Christmas tree, knocking it over and injuring themselves.

If you have a real tree, you must also pay attention to the water in the stand. Sometimes this water is chemically treated, and it always has tree sap in it – both of which are very toxic for your pets. Cover the tree stand with a blanket so your pets don’t drink out of it.

  • Holiday plantsChristmas pets

Many house plants are toxic to cats and dogs, including holiday-specific ones like poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly. Cats are particularly adept at climbing up to high places to chew on these plants – so your best bet is to not bring them into your home.

If you’re not sure about a plant, click here to check the Pet Poison Helpline list of toxins.

  • Snow globes

Many snow globes, particularly those made overseas, are filled with a combination of anti-freeze and water. Anti-freeze is very toxic to pets – so make sure that if your snow globe breaks, your pet doesn’t drink the liquid. If you can, display your snow globe somewhere it won’t be knocked over.

Forbidden Food

These foods are toxic to our pets – so if you’re feeding any table scraps, steer clear of:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocados
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Garlic
  • Grapes, raisins, and currants
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Meat with bones still in it
  • Onions
  • Potato leaves and stems
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Salt
  • Spoiled foods
  • Tea
  • Tomato leaves and stems
  • Xylitol artificial sweetener, including baked goods using xylitol
  • Yeast dough

Chilly Climate

  • Letting your pets outside

Don’t leave your pets to withstand the winter elements. Your pet can get frostbite or hypothermia just like you can!

Don’t let your cats outside in severe weather –they could be caught in a sudden snowstorm, get frostbite on their paws and ears, or lose their way home in the blowing snow.

On the coldest days (below 15° C), if your dog goes into your backyard to do their business, do not leave them out there for any longer than you need to. If you’re walking your dog, you may need to get them a sweater or waterproof jacket and winter booties to protect them from the cold.

  • Car safety

Never ever leave your pets alone in your car – summer or winter! In the winter, pets can freeze to death locked in a car. 

  • Winter chemicals

Anti-freeze for cars and chemicals used on roads and sidewalks are extremely toxic to pets. Wipe your pet’s paws when they come in from the outdoors and don’t let them lick any of these substances while outside.

>> If your pet gets into any trouble or eats anything they shouldn’t over the holidays, call us immediately at 905-855-2100. We are open 24/7 throughout the holidays for emergency pet care, and we always have a vet onsite.

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About Daniel Mudrick

I'm the owner and founder of Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital that's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Clarkson Village Animal Hospital has always been a dream of mine, and by caring for one patient at a time, the hospital has continued to grow. During those rare times when I'm not at the hospital, I'm at yoga, hiking, gardening, and spending time with my family. I also enjoy reading to stay current on the most recent advances in veterinary medicine.

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