Holiday Safety Tips!

                                               Holiday Safety Tips for Your Pet!

With the holiday season in full swing the doctors and staff at VCA North Rockville Animal Hospital would like to pass on some helpful tips to help keep your precious four-legged family members safe and healthy during this time of celebration!

While we all love to incorporate our pets into our celebrations it is important to recognize common hazards such as toxic plants, unhealthy food items, and troublesome decorations that pose a threat to our loved one’s safety.

Let’s talk decorations:

Make sure that your Christmas tree is securely anchored so that it doesn’t tip or fall and potentially injure your pet and/or spill. It is also important to prevent your pet from drinking stagnant water from the base of your tree as it can be full of bacteria that can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Other potential plant problems can come from Holly, Poinsettias, Mistletoe and Lilies. Holly, when ingested, can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Poinsettias can cause skin irritation and Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Many varieties of lilies, if ingested, can cause kidney failure in cats. Be sure to choose pet-friendly bouquets or try silk flowers instead!

Avoid tinsel! Everyone loves the shiny glittery fun of tinsel, but none quite as much as a cat! Ingesting tinsel can lead to serious health issues, ranging from vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and a potentially obstructed digestive tract. Even glass Christmas ornaments are tempting to dogs and cats who may ingest them, so remember to keep them high up on the tree and out of your pet’s reach.

Be cautious with your use of lit candles as well as wires, batteries and electrical cords. Pets can burn themselves or sustain electrical shocks from these commonly used holiday items.

One of the highlights of the holiday season is all the delicious food that we share! Remember to keep your pets away from unattended tables and trash cans. Make sure they don’t ingest chocolate or any desserts sweetened with xylitol. Fatty and spicy foods, as well as bones, can cause major gastrointestinal upset and other health issues. Also, make sure to keep any recipes with grapes, raisins, currants, or onions out of your pets reach.

Let’s not forget the cocktails! If your celebration includes alcoholic beverages, be sure you and your guests keep them out of your pets reach because alcohol can cause major health issues if ingested.

Also be sure that you and any potential house guests keep medications locked away out of the reach of a nosy pet!

And finally as we start into the New Year remember that confetti, if ingested, can cause a potential obstruction and gastrointestinal upset just like tinsel. Also, noise makers, fireworks, and “poppers” can be very frightening to your pet’s sensitive ears.

From our family to yours, please have a safe and healthy holiday season and a wonderful new year!

Please visit the ASPCA website at for more tips and safety information.

If your pet ingests something you are concerned about, you can contact Animal Poison Control. The number is 888-426-4435 and they are a 24 hour call center. *There may be a charge for a consultation.