Pets and the holidays

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The only bad holiday incident I've ever had with any of the critters here was fairly minor and quite a long time ago. Yuki was about a year old at the time. She knocked over the Christmas tree when I was at work; fortunately it was artificial with no water to spill, the lights were not plugged in at the time, and amazingly, the couch, carpet and tree "needles" cushioned the ornaments and none of them broke. I did not see her for almost 24 hours following the incident since she apparently knew that knocking the tree over would be not be looked on favorably by the biped in charge.

That story had a happy ending but I think I will still include a few reminders about some holiday items that are dangerous to pets:

Mistletoe, holly and poinsettia: Mistletoe and holly are quite toxic to animals, especially the berries. Contrary to popular belief, most varieties of poinsettia are not particularly toxic (certainly not as dangerous as the other traditional Christmas plants). Poinsettias will cause nausea and indigestion for most animals, though.

Chocolate: Of course chocolate is a year-round item in most households, and should always be kept out of the reach of pets. Since the holidays are also a time when many of us are baking, be aware that dark cooking and baking chocolates are much more toxic to animals due to the higher theobromine content.

Decorations: Tinsel isn't toxic but can cause choking or intestinal obstructions. Angel hair can cause respiratory or eye irritations.

Food and drink: Alcohol in any amount, or excessive amounts of fatty leftovers, can be dangerous to pets. Make sure your holiday guests don't help your pets overindulge either.

One more thought on pets and the holidays... warm and fuzzy commercials notwithstanding, giving a live animal for Christmas is not a good idea. If you are thinking about doing this, PLEASE reconsider.

Even if the whole family has agreed that a new pet should join the family, bring him home after the holiday bustle and stress has subsided and everyone has time to help acclimate the new family member into a normal routine.

Oh... I believe that our family and friends know us well enough to know that we would not want a "surprise" Christmas pup or bird, even with the thoughtful intention of helping us through the losses of Jake, Missy and Charlie. Uh, and if any of you didn't know... you know now, right?

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We have our Christmas tree (which is real) wired to the wall. It's been good, because Sephie has climbed the tree several times. We don't use garland though, we found it pointless since our old kitty would pull it off. We do hang 1in diameter jingle bells though. :)

Great post! Never too often to remind people about pet hazards.

*giggle* So I shouldn't post you a puppy then? ;)

Thanks for the tips. I didn't know tinsel was non-toxic, but I did know it was bad..but I'm glad to know that if Timbit gets it, he won't be poisoned! Poor Yuki though! I hope there are no similar events this year! *hugs*

When I volunteered at my no-kill local shelter, we were very careful about adopting animals out during December. If someone came in wanting a cat or dog for a gift, we would suggest a gift certificate, so the recipient could pick out their own pet after the holidays. Not only would the poor pet miss the stress of Christmas, but the new care giver could find a pet that matched his or her personality and lifestyle.

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This page contains a single entry by published on December 21, 2002 7:20 AM.

Update... Oscar: no winter allergies? was the previous entry in this blog.

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