The dangers Christmas decorations pose for pets


Twinkling lights and the smell of pine, it’s that time to decorate your Christmas tree; however, if you are a pet owner, you might want to take some precautions.

According to North Bentwood Veterinary Hospital’s Dr. Victor Schulze, “pets are very attracted to the shiny objects and the twinkling lights.”

Since pets are attracted to the lights, they are more likely to bite down on the cord, which can get them electrocuted.

“If you’re not going to be in the house, or you’re not paying attention to your kitty cat. it’s best to unplug the tree and also tape down the cords,” explains Dr. Schulze.

Twinkling lights go hand-in-hand — pet-attraction-wise — with ornaments around the tree. The safest ornaments are plastic ones.

“Sometimes if you have a glass ornament, you might want to put that in a higher, more difficult place for a cat to access in the tree, so it doesn’t shatter on the ground and get glass in its feet,” cautioned Dr. Schulze.

Artificial trees have proven to be safest to use around pets.

“Pine needles can get stuck in their feet, so you need to make sure they are vacuumed. Also the pine tar and the pine sap from the tree can cause some irritation — some foaming at the mouth,” Dr. Schulze explains.

“We must not forget about the gifts under the tree,” says Dr. Schulze. “If they eat the string or ribbon or large amounts of wrapping paper they can get an obstruction in their intestines.”

If you try to pull a ribbon out of a pet’s mouth it has consumed, make sure there is no resistance.

“If you pull, and it’s still stuck, stop, and get some help. If you pull too hard it actually can cut their esophagus and other parts of their body,” says Dr. Schulze.

Besides the Christmas tree, a real mistletoe can effect your pets if they happen to eat the leaves or the berries. It is not just a tree that can cause potential dangers.

“Artificial sweeteners, such as Xylitol pose a significant danger to pets. Xylitol is the most toxic to dogs and cats. So, if they do eat any sugar free food, keep in mind that if they do eat Xylitol, it can kill them pretty quickly, so you need to get them treated right away,” says Dr. Schulze.

Poinsettias can cause irritation, and cats are very susceptible to lilies.

“These plants will cause renal failure in cats. And it’s not anything that can’t be reversed, it’s a very toxic plant to cats,” says Dr. Schulze.

Dr. Schulze says while in general, Christmas trees are safe, these are some of the things to be aware of when decorating for the holidays.

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