Jack Russell by Christmas treeWith all of the magic and holiday spirit in the air, it’s easy to go a little overboard with the bells, baubles, and bows. However, did you know that many seemingly innocuous decorations are actually hazardous to your pet? Poisonous plants seem to be among the most common holiday selections.

But don’t let this stifle your enthusiasm for decorating. It’s just a matter of knowing which items should be left on the list and which ones need to go.

Holiday Plants, Poisonous Plants

Festive foliage and bright holiday plants seem like the perfect choice for the dining room table or mantle. Unfortunately, some of our favorites happen to be toxic to our pets.

You might be aware of the bad rap that poinsettias have gotten in the past. However, although they are mildly toxic and can cause gastric upset, they aren’t the worst offenders. To keep your pet safe, make sure you keep these poisonous plants off your holiday decoration list:

  • Holly
  • Mistletoe
  • Lilies (extremely toxic to cats)
  • Daffodils
  • Christmas tree (fir tree – mildly toxic)
  • Chemically treated Christmas tree water
  • Amaryllis

If these happen to be the favorites you just can’t live without, consider silk arrangements or other fake (yet beautiful) foliage.

Terrible Tinsel and Other Pet Risks

Oh, boy. Just when you thought you had trained your pet to avoid toppling the tree over, now you have to worry about dangerous decorations? Unfortunately, yes.

When it comes to edible or breakable ornaments, the concern is ingestion or injury. A sweet-smelling cookie decoration might be shellacked, but to a hungry pup, it’s likely an object of consumption.

Combine some of these dangerous ornaments with electrical lights and cords, and you have a recipe for disaster. Therefore, keep all wires bundled and covered with pet-proof tubing, and be mindful of the ornaments you choose.

To avoid temptation, stick to non-breakable bulbs and don’t use anything that smells like food (popcorn garlands are not safe since the string could be ingested).

Lastly, beware of cats and stringy things. Tinsel and curling ribbon cause many emergencies this time of year. Instead, opt for fabric bows to adorn your gifts (both a unique and kitty-friendly choice!).

Have a Pet-Safe Holiday!

Whether it’s a plant, gift, or decoration, you should assess each item for its risk to your pet. When in doubt, just ask one of the team members at Stone Ridge Veterinary Medical Center.

Remember, if you don’t know what’s inside a brightly wrapped package, your dog may be the first to find out. That could be a problem if it’s something poisonous, such as chocolate or coffee beans.

Although this may seem like a humbug of a list, there’s a reason why so many veterinary emergencies occur during the month of December. By practicing holiday safety awareness, you can add a little dazzle to the dining room and pizazz to the front porch without putting your pet at risk.

Happy holidays!