The holidays are full of good cheer, good food, and … good opportunities for disaster? That’s right. With the general commotion associated with the holiday season, your furry pal can easily find an opportunity to get into mischief that could earn them a trip to our emergency hospital. Keep your pet safe from holiday disasters this season by avoiding the following five calamities. 

#1: Your pet dined and dashed at your holiday feast

That Christmas ham makes a delicious main dish for your holiday spread, and your furry pal can’t stop their dripping drool. So, they wait till your back is turned, leap onto the table, steal a few bites of buttery mashed potatoes, currant-studded stuffing, and pecan pie, and then bolt away, the entire ham hanging from their jaws. While a couple of morsels of lean boneless meat, along with some fresh veggies and fruit, is not a big deal, the ham bone, butter, garlic, currants, and nuts can cause multiple health issues for your pet. Cooked meat bones are brittle and prone to splintering, which can cause lacerations or an intestinal blockage. Rich, high-fat foods can potentially cause pancreatitis, or at least an upset stomach. Garlic and currants are toxic for pets, while nuts can cause a blockage. If you want to share holiday goodies with your pet, opt for plain canned pumpkin, raw green beans, and a few bites of boneless, skinless turkey breast.

#2: Your pet attacked your Christmas tree—and the tree won

Although playing with the dangling ornaments, twinkling lights, and sparkly tinsel looks like fun from your pet’s perspective, attacking all the glitz can lead to a poor outcome for your furry pal. Fragile glass ornaments batted off branches can crash to the floor and create a hazardous landscape, while electrical cords pose a shocking threat. Cats are especially delighted with all things stringy, but that tantalizing tinsel strand can lead to a tangled-up disaster. Worse, your feline friend may ingest the tinsel, which can create a linear foreign body that requires emergency surgery.

Whether you choose a real or artificial tree, each has its own hazards. Needles can form intestinal blockages, pine sap can be irritating to mucous membranes, and the water in the tree stand can lead to mold- or chemical-induced illness. The best way to keep your pet safe around your Christmas tree is to block their access, except for that one adorable picture for your holiday cards. 

#3: Your pet wrestled with the wrapping paper—and the ribbon

A frisky kitten or playful puppy rolling around in piles of crumpled wrapping paper is a heartwarming sight, but the ribbons used to tie up packages can be fatal. If ingested, ribbon can become wrapped around your pet’s tongue, lodged in their stomach, or bunched in their intestines, sawing through the intestinal tract and leading to a life-threatening infection. Keep your furry pal safe from harm by immediately tossing all paper and ribbon into the trash. 

#4: Your pet lapped up liquor-laden cocktails

Flowing liquor helps create an especially merry atmosphere, but spilled or unattended drinks can poison your pet. If your pet consumes too much liquor, they can succumb to alcohol poisoning, and show signs similar to those in people who have imbibed too much. If your furry pal gets into the holiday punch bowl, you may notice the following issues:

  • Depression or lethargy
  • Incoordination
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting or retching
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Decreased respiratory rate
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hypotension 
  • Hypothermia 

Ask your guests to refrain from sharing their drinks with your pet, and ensure you quickly mop up any spills. 

#5: Your pet went for a bite instead of a kiss under the mistletoe

Although poinsettias routinely are credited as the most dangerous holiday plant for pets, they generally cause mild irritation at best. Mistletoe, which can cause severe intestinal upset, a sudden drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, and hallucinations, is much more hazardous to pets. If your furry pal begins displaying abnormal behavior, check whether your mistletoe sprig is still intact. Or, keep the sprig out of harm’s way by hanging it way up high, away from shelves and tables.

Is your four-legged friend prone to mischief-making instead of merry-making during the holiday season? If so, our Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care team is here to help. Give us a call if your pet finds themselves in a holiday-related disaster and needs immediate care.