Animal Writes © sm
From 22 December 2002 Issue
Holiday "Pet" Hazards
For a safe holiday season, safeguard companion animal
with the following tips:
* Increased activity and visitors during the holiday
season can upset your companion animal's routine. Try to keep your "pet"
on his regular schedule for feeding and exercise and isolate if s/he
gets too excited. Watch for guests leaving doors open where "pet" may
The following plants are poisonous to companion animals:
* Mistletoe ~ Very toxic, all parts, especially the
* Holly ~ Moderate to very toxic, especially the berries and leaves.
* Poinsettia ~ Leaves and stems low in toxicity.
* Christmas Greens: Balsam Juniper, Cedar, Pine, Fir ~ All parts of
these plants have a low toxicity level.
* Christmas tree water and pine needles will cause vomiting, diarrhea,
weakness and trembling in cats.
The following decorations can be harmful:
* Bubbling Lights ~ Moderate to lethal toxicity,
depending on the amount of fluid (methylene chloride) inhaled or
* Fireplace Colors (fire salts) ~ Moderate toxicity, symptoms are
gastrointestinal irritation with vomiting and convulsions.
* Angel Hair (spun glass) ~ Low toxicity, can cause irritation of the
eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract.
* Christmas Tree Preservative Solution ~ Low toxicity, depending upon
formulation and quantity ingested.
* Snow Sprays and Snow Flock ~ Low toxicity, dry particles are inert;
however, toxicity from inhalation can occur if sprayed directly in
* Styrofoam ~ Low toxicity, can cause choking.
* Christmas Tree Ornaments ~ Non-toxic, but irritation or obstruction of
the gastrointestinal tract can occur if ingested.
* Icicles (tinsel) ~ Non toxic, however intestinal obstruction and
choking are potential problems.
* Snow Scenes ~ Toxicity may come from organisms possibly in the water,
most notably Salmonella. Some globes are filled with anti-freeze which
is very toxic.
* Some wrapping papers contain lead. Ingestion can cause lead poisoning.
* Be careful of strings and ribbons, especially for cats who like linear
things, and may cause choking or intestinal blockage.
* Replace metal ornament hooks with tightly knotted fabric 1/4 inch
ribbons, lightweight twine or yarn to slip easily over the branches of
* Alcoholic beverages; holiday treats such as
chocolates; rich, fatty food scraps and bones from poultry, pork and
fish can be harmful or toxic to pets. Keep your pet on his regular diet
and caution visitors against giving your pet "special treats." One ounce
of milk chocolate per pound of body weight or one ounce of baking
chocolate per 10 pounds of body weight can be fatal to a dog or cat.
* Button battery (disk-type battery) ~ Caustic, potentially high
toxicity depending up on the position of the battery in the
* Aftershave Lotion, Colognes, Perfumes, Alcoholic Beverages ~ Ethanol
in various concentrations is moderately toxic depending upon the amount
ingested. The high concentrations of essential oils in true perfumes are
* Plastic Model Cement ~ Moderate toxicity.
* Epoxy Adhesive ~ Uncured hardener: moderate to high toxicity. Uncured
resin: low toxicity, primarily irritation and sensitization.
* Adhesive, Super Glue ~ Low toxicity, most difficulty occurs when
eyelids become bonded together.
* Crayons, Felt Tip Markers, Pencils, Water-based Paints ~ Low toxicity,
however may cause more than a mild mucous membrane and gastrointestinal
* Petroleum-based Paints ~ Low toxicity, primary concern is possibility
* Toys ~ Avoid toys with parts small enough to be pulled off and
swallowed and toys painted with toxic materials, etc. Use same
precautions as with children.
In any case where a guardian suspects an animal has
eaten something they should not have, call your veterinarian and tell
them what they ate and how much. The veterinarian will decide what
action should be taken for the animal.
Pets' highly sensitive noses pick up scents before
humans can. Therefore, don't be surprised when Fluffy and Fido are
underfoot in the kitchen while holiday goodies are being prepared. Watch
those hot containers filled with liquids. Animals can easily tip them
over causing severe scalding and burns to themselves. Also, human food
is too rich. Overfeeding of human food can cause health problems.
Please do not give kittens and puppies, or any pets, as
Christmas gifts. Remember the first weeks of a new life or a sudden
change in an adult pet is extremely traumatic for them. Instead, give
gifts of pet supplies, food, and accessories. Then after the bustle of
the holidays, the recipient can make a selection of the pet of their
choice to bring home to peace and quiet. This will also provide the
happy new pet guardian time to spend with his/her new lifetime
Go on to A Silent Night:
My Vision of the Holidays
Return to 22 December 2002 Issue
Return to Newsletters
** Fair Use Notice**
This document may contain copyrighted material, use of which has not been
specifically authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this
not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the
copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright
Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your
own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright
Your comments and inquiries are welcome