Holiday Hazards and How to Avoid Them

Are you excited for the holidays?  Are you looking to add your fuzzy friend to the festivities?  We here at the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) don’t blame you for that.  Those of us here who foster, volunteer, adopt, and/or work here want to help you share the joyous times with your furry loved ones.  However, many people don’t know that there are some things that can be harmful for your furry companion.  Although the holidays are a lot of fun, they can be stressful times especially when it comes to your pet’s safety.  Fear not!  We will help you with this.  Below is a list of risks to your pet’s safety and what you can do about them.

Poisonous Plants:

When we think of our seasonal plants we think holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias.  We all know that these certain plants (poinsettia’s not as bad) are poisonous to humans but it is worse for pets.  These plants can cause some serious gastrointestinal problems if they are eaten.  They tend to induce vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and/or odd behavior.  And if you have an evergreen tree, it would be in the best interest of your pets to sweep up the needles as much as possible.  If they are eaten, it will block your pet’s stomach.  Do your best to keep all of these out of reach from your pets or get fake plastic décor.

 Watch Those Ornaments:

On every tree, it is a joy to see these glittering Christmas bulbs and glowing electrical lights.  We all love to see them as it is one of the loveliest things about Christmas.  However, pets can view these wonderous decorations like they are toys.  And let’s face it, when we were kids, we did too.  Just think what it must be like for your fur-baby.  These things are very stimulating to pets.  They will try to bat, chew, or otherwise find a way to play with these baubles.  Now this can not only break your ornaments and cause a big mess but shattered pieces can be stepped on or sometimes even ingested.  The last thing we ever want is our loved ones to get hurt and this includes our four-legged friends.  That said, make sure your stay away from tinsel and ribbons as they cause some ingestion problems to pets as well.  To avoid this, try not to decorate where you pet can reach these fun things or when it comes to the cords keep them as hidden as possible. 

Candles and Other Flammables:

Ah!  A roaring fire in the fireplace where the stockings are hanging and candles glistening on the dining room table over a festive centerpiece.  This is a common and beautiful practice that many people like to practice when the holidays roll around.  However, you never want to leave your pet unattended with open flames in the room.  As we all know, pets can be curious and playful beings.  If they play with a candle, they could knock it over and not only hurt themselves but start a fire that can do some serious damage to your home.  The best thing you can do is use fake, battery-operated candles, have an electric fireplace, or have the fireplace channel on.  If you insist on using a classic fireplace, keep a cover on it and put the flames out when you are leaving your pet alone.

The Christmas Tree:

This is an equivalent to the proverbial “elephant in the room” but there are things that people miss.  For example, a cat could climb this tree and knock it over or a dog could come around and eat something off the tree that looks like a treat to them.  These things can happen.  So, what can we do about that?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use an animal repellent spray to keep them away.

  • Anchor the tree so it doesn’t tip over if your pet climbs it.

  • Weigh down the base so it doesn’t tip.

  • Use a cage or barricade of some kind to keep pets out.

  • Set trap noise-makers such as bells to alert you that your animal is close.

So, you see.  It is possible for the whole family which includes pets to have a safe and happy holiday in your home.  It just takes a little care and imagination to make it so.  If you follow these safety instructions then you all can have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  We here at AARCS wish you the best during this holiday season. 

Erika Ravnsborg

Erika Ravnsborg

Blog and Website Content Creator

Got ideas for our next blog? Email me at [email protected]!

December 19, 2023