The holidays are a fun time to relax and enjoy the company
of family and friends, including our beloved pets. The holiday season may also
present opportunities for new sites, smells- and sometimes dangers- for our
There are many objects that pets can ingest that may upset
or block their digestive system. These things can include candy, food, ribbon,
tinsel, and even smaller holiday decorations. “Be very mindful about what
things are left out that pets can get into. Make sure that food, ribbon, bows
and other dangerous items are cleaned up,” says Dr. Edward Cooper, assistant
professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and service head for Emergency and Critical Care.
Dr. Cooper adds that feeding “table scraps” can cause upset
and even result in obstructions in the digestive system. Toys, ribbon, and
other small items such as candy are commonly viewed as toys by pets and if
ingested can cause major problems.
Holiday plants can also pose a danger to pets. Many
varieties of house plants can be toxic. Dr. Cooper suggests checking the ASPCA toxic and
non-toxic plant list when bringing any new plants into your home.
Pets’ behavior can also be affected during the holiday
season. “Holidays can be stressful to pets,” says Dr. Meghan Herron, Clinical
Assistant Professor. “There are changes in an owner’s schedule, you often have
more visitors, and there are new things like Christmas trees with lights.”
Dr. Herron suggests trying to maintain a consistent routine
including feeding and exercise schedules. Pets, especially dogs, can get “cooped
up” during the winter, so it is important to make sure they get plenty of
exercise and enrichment.
Some animals are not comfortable with strangers, so if you
plan to have visitors, provide a “safe haven” for your pets. This can be a room
where pets can retreat to and enjoy toys and food enrichment. When pets are in
this area, try to avoid disturbing them. If your pets get very anxious or
aggressive around visitors, it may be best to board them. This will help avoid
unneeded stress for you and your pets.
It is recommended
that you seek the advice of a veterinarian if you notice unusual symptoms,
including vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, or change in behavior. These
can all be signs of a more serious problem.
The Ohio State
Veterinary Medical Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a
year for companion animal, farm animal, and equine emergencies. If your animal
needs emergency treatment, please call 614-292-3551 (companion animal) or
614-292-6661 (equine and farm animal).
For other holiday safety tips, visit the Ohio
Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA)’s website