4 Common Holiday Decorations That Are Actually Harmful to Pets

4 most dangerous decorations for pets

Alert for Pet Lovers

Ninety two percent of all pets will face an emergency medical situation at least once in their lifetime. Serious pet injuries or illnesses often occur during the holiday season, which should be a happy time of year. Pet owners may not know that many holiday decorations can actually be quite harmful to their cats and dogs. Learn to recognize these common holiday hazards for pets.

  1. Tinsel
  2. sad holiday dog

    Tinsel is one of the most dangerous holiday decorations for pets. It is frequently eaten by both cats and dogs, and it only takes a few strands to cause problems. If swallowed, tinsel can irritate the digestive tract and cause intestinal obstruction.

  3. Holly Berries & Mistletoe
  4. mistletoe

    Poinsettias typically get a bad rap as being dangerous for pets, but this holiday plant is relatively harmless, and may only cause mild mouth irritation. Mistletoe and holly berries are the really dangerous festive plants. If eaten, both can cause serious side effects such as heart arrhythmia in cats and dogs.

  5. Electrical Cords
  6. christmas lights

    We use electrical cords to power some of our favorite holiday decorations from string lights to that animatronic dancing Santa you love so much. All of these extra electrical cords are dangerous if your dog or cat decides to play with or chew on them. Chewing on a live electrical cord can burn a pet's mouth, cause difficulty breathing, seizures, and cardiac arrest. Switch Christmas lights off when they aren't being used, and make sure the end of any extension cord is tucked away so your pet cannot get to it.

  7. Unattended Chocolate Treats
  8. holiday treats

    Whether it's Hanukkah gelt or a chocolate Santa, hosts love to leave treats out for all to enjoy. If left unattended, your four-legged friend will likely help themselves too. Chocolate can be very dangerous for dogs, which are especially at risk of consuming it because of their "sweet tooth." Dark chocolate is more harmful to pets than milk chocolate. If ingested, it can cause agitation, vomiting, high heart rate, tremors, seizures, and even death. The foil wrappers covering chocolate treats can also be very harmful to pets if eaten along with the chocolate.

What To Do In An Emergency

Keep your best furry buddy safe this holiday season by steering clear of these potentially hazardous holiday decorations. Just in case, pet owners should be prepared for emergency situations.

If your pet is experiencing a life-threatening condition:

  • Call your vet to alert them of the situation.
  • If your vet determines the situation to be serious, head to their office immediately.
  • If your vet's office is closed and you suspect your pet is very sick, visit the nearest emergency veterinary clinic.

Be a prepared pet owner by adding your veterinarian's office phone number to the contacts in your cell phone. You should also add the phone number and location of the nearest veterinary emergency clinic.

Prevent Dog Bites This Holiday Season

The winter holidays can also have another side effect on the family dog—additional stress may make them more likely to act aggressively.

From a dog's point of view, crowded holiday parties consist of strange faces, excited children, and changes to their routine. All of these factors can make a dog quite anxious, which could lead to an unfortunate biting incident or a serious injury. Make sure your dog is trained to act appropriately around guests, and to find more information on dog bite prevention visit our Dog Safety Resource Center.

If you or your child has suffered serious injuries because of an attack by a dog, you may have a case. Contact an experienced attorney today.

Source: “Top Ten Holiday Decorations to Avoid.” PetMD.com. December 15, 2014.