TJ's Tip this week is all about holiday decorations. Cats and dogs are instinctually curious about anything new in the house, and shiny, dangling, delicious-looking holiday decorations might be irresistible.
Candles create a lovely ambiance, but open flames can singe whiskers and tails. And, if your pet knocks a candle over, it could start a fire in your home. Keep candles high enough so pets can’t get near them, and consider placing them in lanterns or other glass containers. And of course, never leave a burning candle unattended.
Tinsel and ribbons, if ingested, become a “linear foreign body,” and can become stuck or looped around the digestive tract. This can cause irreparable damage and even death. It’s just not worth the risk to have these items within your cat’s (or dog’s) reach.
Strings of lights might look good to chew on, and could cause an electrical shock or burns if bitten through. If you have a young kitten or puppy that hasn't learned not to chew on things, be especially careful. If strings of lights are hanging low on a tree, your pets could get tangled up in them and panic. Consider "cord covers" for extension cords, to keep them hidden and away from mouths or paws. Unplug any lights when you're not home.
Flocking (imitation snow) on trees may be toxic, and could cause a blockage if a large quantity is ingested.
Glass ornaments can be knocked off tree branches and shatter on the floor. Any sentimental ornaments (of any material) should be secured or displayed in a safe location. Remember that to your pet, any new, small items can look like fun toys or tasty treats.
BONUS TIP: Take a few minutes each day to vacuum up any dropped pine needles around your tree, as they can puncture your pet's insides if ingested.