Holiday Traditions: Keeping Your Pet Safe

The holidays include many exciting things, from decorations to treats, and your pet can enjoy the season too! Here are some things to know about seasonal plants, plus we’ve included some of our ideas for creating holiday traditions with your pet.

Although not as deadly as once thought, poinsettias should still be placed out of reach due to their mild toxicity. The sap irritates mouth and throat tissues, causing discomfort with nausea and perhaps vomiting if ingested, but rarely any fatal symptoms. More severe reactions likely occur due to pesticide treatment on the leaves.

We all know to take care with poinsettias, but what other plants should you watch out for?

Place dried or fresh holly and mistletoe – the leaves and the berries – well out of reach as their toxicity levels exceed poinsettias’. Eating lilies or daffodils will result in adverse and even life-threatening reactions, from bulbs as well as flowers and leaves. The Christmas cactus, though not toxic in itself, can upset your pet’s stomach and intestines, in addition to injuries from the spines themselves.

Christmas trees, especially firs, contain oils that can cause excessive drooling or vomiting. The needles, if ingested, can lead to gastrointestinal punctures or obstruction. Covering the repository for your tree’s water will also keep your pet from becoming ill as the water grows bacteria and mold. Even a few laps can make your pet sick.

Aside from keeping your pet from chewing your plants, what can you do so they enjoy the holiday season with you?

Holiday pet outfits, like matching sweaters, can infuse some festive spirit into your home and activities. Costumes transform pet photos into keepsakes and ornaments easily – and many photographers will do photoshoots or create holiday videos for you to keep or share.

Host a (virtual) holiday pet cookie exchange! Get together with other pet owners to make treats together over a video chat, then exchange them in a socially-distanced manner, packaged in festive tins. Then have a follow-up video chat to let all the pets sample the treats at the same time.