Cats love to play, and the bright shiny ornaments hanging from the tree are almost irresistible. They will bat and grab the ornaments, especially the low ones, so plan ahead and put the soft, non-breakable ones down there. Your fragile family heirlooms should be placed much higher and out of reach on the tree, or displayed safely somewhere else. Tinsel poses a special risk as well. Both dogs and cats are attracted to the shiny stuff, and because of it's static electricity it sticks well to noses. Most animals will then try to lick it off, and end up eating it. For cats, even one strand can be a problem and get wound up in the intestines. The ribbons that so many pretty packages are decorated with pose another risk to cats. Some love to chew on them, and can end up ingesting them. Long stringy things eaten by cats are a major cause of intestinal obstruction. So keep both the tinsel and ribbons out of their reach!
Any gifts of food wrapped up under the tree are easy for dogs to sniff out. Whatever is in there is not likely dog food, plus all the packaging that may or may not be consumed with the food can lead to trouble. Sausages and cheese are high fat foods, and can induce pancreatitis, a dangerous and life threatening disease of dogs(and cats). Chocolates are another common offender, and in addition to being high fat, contains theobromine, the ingredient that can be toxic to animals. It may not be polite, but it is wise to ask if any gifts are perishables or could be something your pet might eat, before putting them under the tree.
We all like to give treats to our pets, but think twice before giving them handouts from the holiday table. So many things we eat this time of year are not good for our pets. Anything high in fat, particularly animal fat, can induce pancreatitis. This is a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas, a digestive juice secreting organ. Each year we treat lots of animals for this condition, and each year many die from this horrible disease. Also, keep the poultry bones, and any other small bones, safely out of your pets' reach. These can be pretty rough on the inside of their digestive tract, or even get stuck and puncture a hole in them. If you feel the urge to give your pet a snack, keep some kitty treats or dog biscuits at the ready.
So remember to keep your pets safe this holiday season, so they are around next Christmas as well! Happy Holidays!