Prepare and make the holidays safe for your pets

Prepare and make the holidays safe for your pets

How to make this Holiday safe for your pets
This is a wonderful time of year for celebrations with family and friends, so many fun festivities, holiday decorations, and not to mention the holiday feasts.  Along with all the excitement comes potential dangers for your pet.  Here are some pet safety tips to keep in mind, all year long, but especially over the next few weeks to prepare for the holidays for your pets to keep them happy and safe.


As you celebrate this holiday season please try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible.  Also make sure to provide a safe quiet space for your pet to retreat to when holiday celebrations become stressful.

Holiday Guests

If you are planning to have family or friends stay over during the holidays, please remind them you have a pet and to follow pet safety during their stay. This might include storing their luggage and any toiletries or medication away from your pets reach. They should also be reminded not to feed your pet any table scraps or other food they should not have. Let guests know about any allergies or medical alerts you have for your pet in case of emergency. Post your vets information where they can easily find it.


There are a few plants that come out over the holidays that you should prevent your pet from coming into contact with. Holly, Mistletoe, Poinsettia Plants, Lilies and Daffodils, even your Christmas tree can pose a hazard when ingested. Toxicity can range from mild to severe, the amount of plant consumed can determine how sick a pet may become. Symptoms can cause pets to suffer gastrointestinal upset such as  nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Other concerns are cardiovascular problems, kidney or liver failure, and if enough plant material is ingested, seizures, coma and death are possible.  Please keep these and other unsafe plants away from your pets, or better don’t keep plants that are not pet safe in your home. Contact the Langley Animal Clinic if you ever suspect your pet has ingested a plant that may be toxic.

Food and Beverages that are unsafe

Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.
Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine -These products all contain substances called methylxanthines , which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.
Yeast Dough-can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture.
Chicken or Turkey Bones, as they may splinter and cause mouth and throat or internal injuries by becoming lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Macadamia Nuts-Problems after ingestion include, weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.                                                                                                                                                   Raisins and Grapes– contain an unknown toxic substance, have been known to cause kidney failure
Keep wires, batteries, and glass or plastic ornaments out of reach.
Small toy parts are easily swallowed causing choking or an intestinal obstruction
Nuts and pine cones can become lodged in your pet’s intestines
If you believe your pet has eaten any of the above items, please contact us and get veterinary attention immediately.

Christmas Tree Risks

Christmas tree needles are very sharp and can easily become lodged in a pets paws or throat.  Sweep up loose needles regularly.
Make sure your pet can’t access the water at the base of the Christmas tree. It will be contaminated with sap and needles, both of which are very indigestible.
Long-stranded Christmas Tree Tinsel (icicles) can become a linear foreign body, especially for cats, who pick up the icicles, these can also get stuck on their fur through static electricity and they may swallow them when they lick them off.  Avoid using tinsel on the tree anywhere that your cat can come in contact with it.
Remember to cover all electrical cords,  so your pet can’t chew on them.
Christmas tree ornaments can be very interesting to pets.  Make sure your ornaments are unbreakable,  and that they are large enough that they can’t be swallowed.
Falling Christmas trees pose a hazard to both pets and people.  Remember that your pet may jump at or attempt to climb the Christmas tree,  make sure that it is securely anchored.                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Another concern is the wrap they use on the tree when transporting it, this is usually a webbing or a string spun down the length of the tree.  Pets may ingest pieces of the string which may cause become lodged in the digestive system which may result in surgery.

Other Holiday Hazards

Remove wrapping from the floor to avoid your pet swallowing any of it,  particularly lengths of ribbon,  which may become a linear foreign body.
Remember that loud noises may startle or upset your pet, particularly champagne corks, balloons popping, Christmas crackers and doorbells and New Years Eve  fireworks.
Pets may become overwhelmed by large numbers of guests in your home and exhibit undesirable behavior. Your pet may need to be removed to somewhere quiet to calm down.
Make sure your pet  has a tattoo or microchip and is wearing  identification.
If you are buying your pet a holiday gift, make sure you get it from a reputable veterinarian or pet store, and inspect it to make sure there are no small parts that may come off and be eaten with the rough love it might get from your dog or cat.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. or 604-534-4813

Happy Holidays from all the Veterinarians and staff at the Langley Animal Clinic