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Drop It! 5 Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

Even the best behaved critters are tempted to taste the delights that deck our halls. Follow these 5 holiday safety tips for pets and avoid huge vet bills.

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets
Photo by Jakob Owens

We all know that cats and dogs love to chew (and unfortunately swallow) a surprising array of household items. In fact, one of the most common claims they receive at Trupanion, a leader in medical insurance for cats and dogs, is for “Foreign Body Ingestion.”

Holiday Safety Tips for PetsThe holidays, along with all of their festive decorations, provide all sorts of additional chewing opportunities – and potential emergency visits to the veterinarian – for our furry friends. And while great pet health insurance will cover a majority of the vet expenses, (Really Rather’s Frankie Feldman swears by it), you can’t put a price on the pain and suffering you and your pet suffer when a mishap occurs.

So as we all deck our halls, Trupanion, offers up the following list of items to keep away from your four-legged fur baes — and the extent of the vet bills required to right the wrongs.

5 Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

1) Tinsel and Ribbon

Tinsel and ribbon can cause a tangled mess in the intestines if swallowed by a pet. A British Shorthair cat from Oregon ingested tinsel which resulted in a trip to the veterinary – for which the Trupanion policy paid out $807.

2) Ornaments

Make sure to hang any small or fragile ornaments high enough on your tree to avoid the wagging tail of your dog or a paw swipe from your cat.  Although keep in mind, that for many cats there is no safe height. A lovable pooch in Washington state made an emergency visit to the vet when they ate a Christmas ornament – the Trupanion policy paid out $4,495

3) Holiday lights

Pets are drawn to holiday lights, just like we are. The only difference is they may be tempted to chew on them. Be sure to also keep the electrical cords taped down or out of reach. A Brittany spaniel from Indiana succumbed to the temptation to chew and ingested some Christmas lights. After a trip to the veterinarian the Trupanion policy paid out $1,566.

4) Turkey bones

Bones from turkey and other traditional main courses around the holidays can have dangerous effects when in the mouths of dogs and cats. Cooked bones especially can splinter and break, causing serious internal injury. An enthusiastic dog in Alberta found himself at the veterinarian after he ingested some turkey bones a few days after Christmas – the Trupanion policy paid out $3,800 for that treatment.

5) Holiday plants

Many holiday plants can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested by your dog or cat.  These include holly, mistletoe and amaryllis.  A Shih Tzu from California ingested poinsettias, which are toxic to dogs. After a trip to the veterinarian the Shih Tzu was back in tip top shape – the Trupanion policy paid out $59. Lilies are also extremely toxic for cats, even contact with the pollen or water in the vase may be enough to cause kidney failure.

“If you have a Christmas tree, make sure it is secure – it doesn’t take much for a cat or excited dog to knock it over, said Dr. Sarah Nold, Staff Veterinarian at Trupanion. “You should also take care to restrict your pet’s access to the tree’s water or ingestion of the tree’s needles, because both may cause vomiting and diarrhea, and can contribute to a tipped tree.”

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets
Photo by Darek Roslaniec

After you’re done reading about these holiday safety tips for pets, see some of the surprising things your dog can eat here.

Even the best behaved critters are tempted to taste the delights that deck our halls. Follow these 5 holiday safety tips for pets and avoid huge vet bills.