‘Tis the season!
More specifically, it’s that time of year to proactively protect your dog (and of course other pets) from seasonal dangers! While many of the dangers are associated with the Holiday Season, not all of them are. Just as many hazards are associated with the Fall and Winter Seasons. Keep reading below to learn how to best protect your beloved pet from all seasonal hazards!
Pet Dangers Associated with Fall/Winter
The Fall season presents a variety of potential dangers to our dogs (and pets)! One in particular with most kids being home-schooled due to the Coronavirus.
Keep curious noses and paws away from common school supplies like glue sticks, pencils and pens, crayons and scented magic markers! Smaller items are even more dangerous because it only takes a second for a pet to ingest things like small erasers, staples, batteries, pushpins, paper and binder clips, rubber bands, magnets and more. Although many of these items may not present a toxic threat, stomach upset and blockages are possible if your pet ingests one of these items! Remember, dogs explore their world first with their nose and then their mouths!
Another danger associated with homeschooling kids includes snacks and drinks. Many snacks while tasty for our kids, can pose a threat to nosy K9s! Grapes and raisins, salty pretzels and popcorn and even empty potato chip and other snack bags can pose a suffocation threat to pets who unknowingly put their heads inside the bag to lick the salt or eat up the crumbs! Once inside the bag, your pet’s breathing can tighten the empty bag around their throat and it may be too late before you notice it!
Many snacks also contain the sugar-free sweetener called xylitol. While not harmful to humans, this popular additive IS toxic to dogs and is found in a variety of candy, gum, mints, snacks, cookies and even sodas. So read all labels carefully and keep all snacks and drinks out of reach from your dog!
Autumn also poses other potential dangers including:
- Snakes getting ready to hibernate,
- Mushrooms ready to harvest, and even
- Piles of raked leaves!
Your dog may not be the only creature who loves leaf piles! Unfortunately, you may not see them until they have latched onto your pet. Insects like ticks, earwigs, spiders and centipedes love to hide in these piles for shelter, warmth and breeding. Even snakes and rodents may take up residence in leaf piles.
Avoidance is the best way to protect your dog from what lurks in leaf piles. But, if your dog or other pet gets into a pile of leaves, bathe and then carefully inspect and remove any insects trying to hitch a ride!
Getting Ready for Winter
Many of our winterizing preparations can cause toxic harm to our dogs and other pets. These include:
- The use of rat and mouse poisons/rodenticides
- Engine coolant/antifreeze spills
- Rock salt and other ice-melting products like water softener salt pellets; homemade deicers with dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and warm water; or a water and vinegar mix; or fireplace ashes.
Pet Dangers Associated with the Holidays
The holidays are right around the corner and that means some additional seasonal hazards for your beloved pets.
Toxic and Poisonous Holiday Plants
- Lilies (for cats)
- Holly & Berries
- Daffodils (especially the bulbs)
- Note: Traditionally, poinsettias have been considered poisonous to pets. Actually, they are non-to-mildly toxic and prone to giving your pet a mild rash if they brush against it or mild stomach discomfort if they ingest it.
- Christmas Trees & Plants treated with a pesticide pose a serious risk (and potential death) to young pets including puppies and kittens.
Other Toxic Items
Batteries: Traditionally, dogs ingest MORE batteries around Christmas than any other time of the year! Keep both old and new batteries out of reach!
Potpourri: Often a good-smelling temptation for your pet that contains toxic essential oils, chemical perfumes, pine cones, dried fruit, cloves and flowers. Bottom line, potpourri poses not only a choking hazard but pose potential poisoning for your pet. Keep it high and out of reach! (This includes all liquid potpourri too.)
Popcorn Strings, Tinsel and Ribbons: If your dog or cat gets hold of strings of popcorn, ribbons, strings or tinsel, there is a strong possibility of choking!
Ornaments and Decorations: Pets are dazzled by ornaments and decorations as much as their human guardians. But curious noses, paws and mouths can mean trouble! For the best protection, block off access to the Christmas, decorations, candles, pine needles and gifts when you cannot closely supervise your pets. Place breakable decorations higher on the tree or shelves to protect your pets if they break. Also, never hang homemade salt dough ornaments on the tree … they can actually kill your pets if ingested!
Trash: Keep all trash locked away and tightly secured from curious noses and mouths. Special holiday foods can spell trouble for your nosy and hungry pets and even wildlife!
Holiday Foods That Are Off-Limits for Your Pets!
This alphabetical list below is by no means exclusive, but it will go a long way in protecting the pets in your home at the holidays!
- Alcoholic drinks (including egg nog, beer, wine and other spirits)
- Artificial sweetener called xylitol
- Blue cheese
- Bread Dough (raw, not baked)
- Caffeine (including coffee, tea and chocolate)
- Chocolate, cocoa, chocolate coins
- Cooked bones and corn cobs
- Dairy (including butter, milk, cream and cheese)
- Fatty meat scraps and skin, drippings and gravy
- Fruitcake, mince pie and Christmas/Plum puddings
- Grapes, raisins and currants
- Ham (including bones), bacon and sausage
- Hanukkah doughnuts: Sufganiyot
- Hanukkah potato pancakes: Latkes
- Hanukkah pastry: Rugelach
- Macadamia nuts
- Onions, leeks, chives, garlic and scallions
- Spices (including sage, baking powder and soda, nutmeg)