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101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet

Presented by ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

Holiday Hazards

Help your pets enjoy the holidays safely by keeping them away from potential problems on these special days.

1.       Alcohol – Alcoholic beverages are toxic to pets and should NEVER be given to them during the holidays or any other time.

Valentine’s Day

2.       Flowers and candy – Many types of flowers and plants found in bouquets are harmful to dogs and cats if they are ingested (see our list of hazardous plants).  Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures, and, in severe cases, chocolate poisoning can be fatal.

Easter

3.       Fake grass – This colorful “grass” may look appetizing to your pets, but it could cause them to choke or obstruct their intestines if ingested.

4.       Small toys and other plastic items – If swallowed, small toys and plastic Easter eggs can cause your pet to choke or even damage their intestinal tracts.

4th of July

5.       Fireworks – Fireworks can scare your pets making them run off, or cause serious injuries if detonated near them.  Many formulations are also toxic if ingested.

Halloween

6.       Repeatedly opening doors to greet trick-or-treaters can increase the chances of your pets running out.  Keep an eye on their whereabouts at all times.  If feasible, keep cats in a secure area or closed room when opening doors.

7.       Candles – Pets are naturally curious, and may be attracted to the bright lights of the flame in dark areas.  Dogs and cats could either burn themselves by the flame or knock the candle over, starting a fire.

8.       Xylitol – Candy or gum sweetened with xylitol is toxic and should be kept away from your pet.

9.       All forms of chocolate can be harmful to your pet, potentially resulting in poisoning or even pancreatic inflammation from the high fat content.

Thanksgiving

10.   Bones – Turkey, chicken, and other small animal bones are very different from the large bones you find at the pet store.  These small bones splinter easily and can cause serious internal damage if swallowed, so NEVER give them to your pet.

11.   Hot containers – Your dog or cat will most likely become curious when they smell something cooking.  Keep an eye on hot containers so that your pet does not tip then over and get burned.

Christmas

12.   Holiday plants – Christmas rose, Holly, Lilies and Mistletoe are all toxic to dogs and cats.

13.   Ribbons – It may look adorable, but placing a ribbon around your pet’s neck may cause them to choke.

14.   Bubbling lights – Older forms of this attractive decoration may contain methylene chloride, which is a highly toxic chemical.

15.   Fire salts – Contain chemicals that could be harmful to pets.

16.   Angel hair (spun glass) – Can be irritating to eyes and skin, and could cause intestinal obstruction if eaten in large amounts.

17.   Christmas tree water – Stagnant tree water or water containing preservatives could result in stomach upset if ingested.

18.   Decoration hooks – Can cause blockage and/or trauma to gastrointestinal tract if swallowed.

19.   Styrofoam – Can cause your pets to choke if swallowed.

20.   Ornaments – These can look like toys to cats and dogs, but they can cause serious injury, especially if your pets break or swallow them.

21.   Tinsel – Can cause choking or internal trauma if swallowed.

New Year’s

22.   Balloons and Confetti – These fun New Year’s party decorations can cause your pets to choke or obstruct their intestines if ingested.  Keep an eye on your pets when they’re around these items or move them to an area that is not decorated.

23.   Loud noises – New Year’s is typically a noisy holiday.  Unfortunately, loud noises frighten pets and can cause them to run off.  Keep your pets in a separate room, away from noisemakers, music, and other loud sounds that may startle them.

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