Celebrating the season: Pet Safety Guide
With the change of season, many families are preparing for holiday travels and seasonal celebrations. While safety of children may be a natural priority during this time, approximately 85 million families may also need to consider pet safety. Travel, decor, festive foods and even scents can affect your pet’s wellbeing.
As festive as seasonal decor may be, it can also present a serious health and safety threat to your pet. For example, glittering strands of holiday tinsel can quickly be fatal if consumed, getting wrapped in your pets’ intestines and requiring immediate veterinarian attention or surgery.
Ornaments are especially enticing to cats, who love the reflections and shadows that they can create. Tackling such items could bring down a tree, short an electrical wire or shatter fragile ornaments creating risk of injury to delicate paws.
Here are some other decorations to be mindful of during the holidays.
When decorating your home, there are a number of decorations with twinkle lights or other electrical elements that can pose a risk, such as icicles, netting and garland. These items can all cause electric shock if your pet chews or tries to eat the wires, so owners should keep an eye out for any fraying or signs of chewing on cords.
Punctured batteries can cause severe burns to the mouth and esophagus, so keep batteries out of your pet’s reach. Nationwide recommends using a grounded three-prong extension cord for extra safety.
The National Fire Protection Association reports that between 2014 and 2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 7,610 home structure fires. Each of these fires was started by candles — a source which accounts for an average of 81 deaths and $278 million in property damage each year. However, damage caused by pets generally isn’t covered by insurance, meaning you could be on the hook if a pet knocks over a candle that starts a fire.
Be sure to move all candles well out of reach, and never leave them burning unattended. Not only can your pets be hurt from fire and hot wax, but you could risk burning the house down if an errant pet knocks over a table or display.
Safer than candles, essential oils can seem like the best way to make your home instantly feel more cozy and festive. But although there is limited research available on the extended effects of essential oils on animals, some have been proven to be toxic or even fatal if ingested by your pets.
According to the ASPCA, permethrin is the most common cause of toxicity of cats, causing tremors. Unfortunately, it’s used in many household products, so be sure to check the labels of anything that could be within your pet’s reach. You should also avoid the use of certain oils in active oil diffusers, such as nebulizers and ultrasonics, which can cause respiratory issues to your pet if inhaled and are poisonous if ingested.
Essential Oils Toxic to Pets
Citrus ( d- limonene)
Citrus ( d- limonene)