1) Many holiday plants are poisonous. Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, many forms of lilies…these are just a few of the more common poisonous plants. Some plants may cause vomiting and diarrhea, while others can cause organ failure and death. Ask your veterinarian if you have specific questions, but a good rule of thumb, is keep pets away from all holiday plants or opt for imitation plants!
2) Although a holiday tree is not poisonous, it still poses a hazard. It is important to prevent your pet from chewing on a live or artificial tree as the needles are sharp and can irritate the mouth and digestive tract if eaten. The needles are also indigestible and could be painful for your pet to pass. If it is difficult to keep your pet away from the tree, place a pet barrier or child’s playpen around the tree to prevent the ingestion of needles as well as your pet from drinking the tree water. Also avoid using any artificial snow sprays or scents on your tree.
3) Prevent ingestion of tree water. Use a tree skirt as well as the barricade discussed above to prevent access to this water. It often contains preservatives which are sugar based and very inviting to pets as well as other toxic chemicals (fertilizers, insecticides and flame retardants) that were used on the tree.
4) Decorate packages sparingly. Although ribbons and string make your holiday packages look festive, they pose significant dangers to pets. These items can be ingested and cause intestinal obstruction which requires surgery to remove. Do not place ribbons or decorations around your pet’s neck or on their collars. Although it may look great, they are at risk of choking or strangling.