The caring veterinarians at Helping Every Animal with Love (HEAL) want you and your furry family members to have a safe holiday season. Sweetie the cat also wants your whole family to be healthy and happy for the holidays, and has many suggestions on pets avoiding seasonal dangers. Read on for Sweetie’s safety recommendations for her owners and other cats—and, she’ll admit, she cares about dogs, too—especially her housemate, Buddy.
Sweetie the cat’s advice about general holiday dangers
Sweetie has lived through many holiday seasons, and is now the family voice of experience about the dangers to pets at this time of year. Here are a few general tips for her family, and particularly for Buddy.
- “Candles or open flames cause problems. I’m not saying dogs are clumsy, Buddy, but have you seen what happens when you race around the house? Battery-operated votives are a safer choice.”
- “Many pets hate loud fireworks. Please check with HEAL before our noise anxiety starts. A safe place to hide, thunder jackets, and prescription medications can help avoid drama and trauma.”
- “Don’t place tempting drinks like eggnog where I—I mean where Buddy—can reach them. Pets can get dangerous alcohol poisoning from drinking a relatively small amount.”
- “Many families like to walk and hike during this season. Ensure they have your harness and leash. Most towns have a ‘duty to restrain’ ordinance to protect the safety of animals and people.”
Sweetie the cat’s tips on holiday decor dangers
Sweeties loves to gaze at the Christmas tree, but she has learned from personal experience as a kitten, that trees and ornaments can be dangerous.
- “Attention all kittens—no climbing the Christmas tree. When the tree comes crashing down and you blame it on the dog, they may not believe you. And, you may get injured.”
- “Remember, getting pine sap out of your fur is miserable. And, don’t drown your sorrows in the holiday tree water—it’s full of chemicals and can make you sick.”
- “Ornaments can shatter when they fall, and no one wants sore paw pads for the holidays. Of course, it goes without saying that swallowing ornaments is a bad idea.”
- “Don’t think about eating other decorations like tinsel or ribbon—especially strings. My predecessor ate tinsel once, and got a holiday gift of abdominal surgery.”
- “Speaking of tempting strings, watch out for all the electrical cords hanging around this time of year. Don’t bite them! You can burn your mouth or, worse, get an electrical shock that will likely mean an emergency room visit and possibly a long hospital stay.”
- “Also, no chewing on batteries. Puppies—I’m talking to you. Do you really want acid in your throat? Your people would have to call the emergency veterinarian right away.”
- “Guys, the liquid potpourri smells good, but our parents put them out of our reach for a reason. Actually, several reasons—burned paws, mouth, or eyes if we spill and splash it, and toxic ingredients that will make us feel bad if we eat it.”
- “If you get the munchies, mistletoe and holly are off-limits. And cats—never chew on a lily, because one bite of any part of the plant can cause severe, life-threatening kidney damage. Poinsettias and Christmas cactus are safer plants, since they cause less-drastic problems, but staying away from all holiday plants is best.”
Sweetie’s final advice: Avoid toxic food threats to pets
Sweetie knows that people have a hard time resisting a pet’s pleading eyes from under the heavily laden holiday dinner table, so she offers these warnings to her fellow pets:
- “The top toxic foods for pets include chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, and Xylitol. If we eat any of these, call the HEAL veterinarians right away.”
- “Bones of any kind are off limits—Buddy, are you listening?—unless you are a fan of emergency surgery, intestinal lacerations, or fractured teeth.”
- “Any rich, fatty foods, such as turkey, gravy, and buttery mashed potatoes, that we are not used to can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening.
- “Praise and pats are much better prizes than treats. But, Buddy, if you have to have human food, small amounts of unseasoned sweet potato, or raw carrots or green beans are OK.”
Buddy the dog’s holiday rejoinder
Buddy the dog seemed to actually appreciate Sweetie’s safety tips, and added one of his own.
“Sweetie, those are excellent points—thank you—and I would like to add something. Pets, ensure you help our humans over the holidays. Many people are more stressed this year, So we should take extra special care of them with plenty of cuddling and snuggling, that will help their physical, emotional, and mental health. I won’t speak for cats, but dogs believe in Helping Every Animal with Love, and helping people, too.”
But, of course, Sweetie had to get in the last word: “Cats believe in supporting our humans—but we show our feelings differently. I’ll admit that dogs are dedicated, loyal, and smart—I guess that’s why you are called man’s best friend. Maybe I’ll stop giving dogs such a hard time, at least for the holidays.”
At HEAL, we agree with the ideas for a safe and healthy holiday season that the fictional Sweetie and Buddy have suggested. Call HEAL any time questions arise about your pet’s safety, or you suspect a pet emergency. We wish a stress-free holiday season for everyone—cats, dogs, and people.