Holidays and pets

Top tips and expert advice

information provided by North Central Veterinary Emergency Center

Holiday decorations

  1. Many festive decorations such as garlands, ribbons, strings of lights, tinsel, and wrapping paper ​may seem like toys to pets, but they can be dangerous if pets chew on or swallow them.
  2. Many holiday plants are toxic to cats and dogs, including:
    • Amaryllis
    • Azalea
    • Boxwood
    • Christmas cactus
    • Chrysanthemum
    • Holly
    • Mums
    • Mistletoe
    • Paper whites/daffodils
  3. Although poinsettias can cause stomach upset, they are not as toxic as is commonly believed.
  4. Lilies are highly toxic to cats. In fact, lilies are so dangerous to cats that veterinarians recommend that lilies not be allowed in homes with cats.
  5. Keep tree water covered. Tree sap and chemicals used to keep trees fresh can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  6. Liquid potpourri is toxic to pets. Keep it out of their reach.
  7. Candles attract curious pets, but can burn their whiskers and fur. They also present a fire hazard when knocked over by playful cats and dogs.

Holiday food

  1. Fatty foods, including gravy, ham, lamb, and sausages, are not healthy for pets. They can cause pancreatitis in dogs, which is a serious and even deadly illness. It is always best to keep pets on their usual diet. If you would like your pets to participate in the celebration, give them a new toy, pet-specific treat, or a plain vegetable, like raw or steamed carrots.
  2. Other foods, like chocolate, garlic, grapes, macadmaia nuts, onions, and raisins are toxic to cats and dogs.
  3. Keep your garbage secure and out of the reach of pets. Bones and string used for roasts and turkeys taste delicious to pets, but they may cause blockages and require surgery to remove.
  4. Alcohol is toxic to pets. Do not give them any, and keep it out of the reach of pets.

Holiday visitors

  1. Not all pets will enjoy the commotion accompanying guests and parties. Seclude your pets in a quiet room if necessary for their peace of mind.
  2. Keep visitors’ bags, coats, and purses out of the reach of pets. These items often contain candy, cosmetics, gum, and medications, all of which can be toxic to pets.
  3. All pets should be identified with a collar and tags with their name and their owner’s address and phone number. Pets should also be microchipped, and the owner’s contact information should be kept updated with the microchip company.

Winter weather

  1. Snow and subzero temperatures can mean real danger for pets. Pets are susceptible to frostbite on their paws, tails, and ears. Keep cats indoors and do not leave dogs outside for extended periods of time.
  2. Cats will often hide near the engine of a car for warmth during the winter. Before starting your vehicle, honk the horn and bang on the hood to scare them away.
  3. Antifreeze is a poisonous substance. Even very small amounts can be fatal to cats and dogs. Keep pets out of garages and away from containers and spills.

Contact

The North Central Veterinary Emergency Center location nearest to Lansing, Illinois, is at 2427 Ridge Road in Highland, Indiana. For 24/7 pet emergency care every day of the year, call 219-881-1600. Referrals from area veterinarians are welcome as are walk-ins.

 

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