Paul M. Tew, DVM
Jason R. Esplin, DVM
Kelly B. Shawcroft, DVM
The key to survival during a disaster, crisis or emergency is to be as prepared as possible beforehand. Take the time to make a plan and assemble an emergency kit for you and your pet.
There are many pet safety hazards that Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah and all the resulting celebrations and decorations bring. Aside from the over excitement and confusion caused by too many guests, there are purely physical problems: A dog can singe a tail on a candle or it can swallow tinsel and wind up with an intestinal blockage that may need surgery to repair. Hospitals often see more cases of toxicity, cases related to an animal's biting an electrical cord or cases related to a pet eating chocolate or table scraps and developing pancreatitis.
THE TREE - The natural smell of a Christmas tree attracts pets. But remember that needles (even artificial ones) are indigestible. Keep your pet away from the tree. Artificial trees have small pieces of plastic or aluminum that can break off and be swallowed, causing intestinal blockage or irritation to the mouth. Don't use preservatives in the stand water. They can be toxic if consumed by a thirsty pet. Lights can get very hot. Remove them from the lower branches of the tree so they won't burn your pet. Tinsel has sharp edges that can cause cuts in the mouth. Don't use edible ornaments or fragile, easily breakable glass decorations to trim the tree. Don't use angel hair as it is made of spun glass. Electrical cords should be taped firmly to walls or floors. Wire ornament hooks can easily snag an ear or a tail or if swallowed can lodge in the throat or intestines. Fashioning loops of yarn, ribbon or light weight twine will help you avoid this problem.