Decorations, gifts and treats all help make the holidays fun and festive for us, but for families with pets, it’s also important to pay extra attention to avoid pet illness or injury. Our Board Certified Veterinary Dentists from across the country offer insights on top holiday pet hazards and what pet owners can do to help protect their pet’s dental health during the holiday season and throughout the year.
Decorations & Pet Oral Burns
All of the bright Christmas lights, also mean extra electrical cords in the house that you don’t want to spark your pet’s interest. Pay close attention your pets when there are cords that may be accessible to a dog or cat, especially one who’s prone to chewing. If you leave your pets unattended, always be certain to unplug any electrical cords they might have access to while you’re away. Dr. Dale Kressin, Wisconsin Vet Dentist, has a number of cases where a pet has tongue burns and lesions from chewing on an electrical cord.
Other burn hazards for pets include candles or incense, which can cause chemical burn in a pet’s mouth. More about pet oral burns.
New Toys, Bones & Tooth Fractures
Many of the chew toys and bones that fill the aisles of pet stores are not really as pet friendly as they might look. Bones and hard chew toys are often the culprit when it comes to a broken pet tooth. When you’re choosing items to fill Fido and Tabby’s stockings, choose items they can enjoy and that won’t mean a trip to the vet dentist. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t bend it or make a dent in it with your thumbnail, it’s too hard and could break their teeth. Also beware of giving any bones from holiday meals to pets, not only can they break teeth, but when swallowed can cause internal injury.
New toys should also always be given under parental supervision. A pet’s excitement to chew apart their gift, can sometimes result in swallowing pieces of the toy. A great choice is Kong toys. They are durable and very unlikely to cause oral injury.
Poisons & Illness
There are a variety of pet poisons that can cause mild to serious illness, not only during the holidays, but all year long. Holiday plants should be kept out of pet’s reach. Most often they don’t cause serious illness, but diarrhea and vomiting can certainly ruin a party. You should also be sure to keep a close eye on pets, especially when you have guests who may not be used to pets being around. Handbags and other items left in pet’s reach can contain medications, gum and other things you don’t want a pet to ingest.
Help your pets enjoy the holidays by keeping them safe. Always remember our festivities can sometimes be scary or upsetting to a pet who’s not used to all of the chaos. Be sure to keep an eye on them as guests enter, you don’t want them to run out into the street or knock over Grandma.
If your pet has a dental injury, find a veterinary dentist near you for immediate evaluation and treatment.