With all of the things going on, it can be easy to get out of your regular routine. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise schedules as close to normal as possible, said Dr. Elisabeth Giedt, director of Continuing Education, Extension and Community Engagement at the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University.

“Not only is keeping their schedules relatively normal important, it’s also essential to keep your pets away from unhealthy treats, dangerous decorations and toxic plants,” Giedt said.

For many families, the Christmas tree is the focal point of holiday decorations. Be sure to securely anchor the tree so it does not tip over. This also can prevent the tree water from spilling. Tree water may contain fertilizers that can cause an upset stomach for your pet. In addition, stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, which can induce nausea or diarrhea should your pet drink that water.

Because our feline friends tend to gravitate toward things that are shiny and sparkly, rethink using tinsel on your tree. If an animal swallows tinsel, it can lead to severe vomiting, dehydration and possibly an obstruction in the digestive tract which may require surgery.

Strings of lights also are a common decoration for Christmas trees, along with lighted Christmas villages and other light-up decorations. Unfortunately, some pets may find the electrical cords enticing. Try to keep these cords behind furniture and other places your pets cannot access. Pet owners also may want to try taping the cords to the floor to make them less accessible or using cord protectors or spiral cable wrap.

“Although candles add an air of festiveness to your home’s decorations, they can be a danger not only to your pets, but people as well,” Giedt said. “The flame can cause burns, and if knocked over, the hot wax also can cause burns to you and your pets. And let’s not forget about the danger of setting something on fire. For those who enjoy the ambiance of candles, there are a wide variety of flameless candles available that are a much safer alternative.”

Burning scented candles or incense should be avoided if you have birds in the home, said Ian Kanda, AHT/RVT, Avian, Exotic and Zoological Services at the OSU Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

“Birds have a very efficient respiratory system that makes them particularly susceptible to airborne toxins and smoke inhalation,” Kanda said.

Although holly and mistletoe have long been used as a holiday decorations, when ingested, holly can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Opt for artificial plants made from silk or plastic and place them out of reach of pets.

“For many people it’s traditional to host a holiday gathering in their home. However, some of the special foods and beverages you prepare for your guests can be dangerous for your pets,” Giedt said. “Keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to securely fasten the lids on your trash cans. Also, if your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place these drinks out of reach of your pets. If consumed, alcohol could make your pet weak, ill or possible even induce a coma.”

Giedt suggests giving your pets their own quiet space during a holiday party. Keep them enclosed in a space where guests are not likely to be, such as a bedroom or laundry room. Be sure to provide your pet with plenty of water, food and a quiet, welcoming place to rest.

“The holidays are all about celebrating with the family, and our pets certainly qualify as family members. However, keeping your pets safe this holiday season should be top priority,” she said.


Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures.  This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 408 Whitehurst, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; phone 405-744-5371; email: [email protected] has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator 405-744-9154.

Trisha Gedon
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
136 Agriculture North
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)
[email protected]

Read more http://www.dasnr.okstate.edu/news/tips-to-keep-pets-safe-during-the-holidays


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here