The BC SPCA just released this PSA video below containing some ways to keep your pet happy and safe over the holiday season. Some are gift related, others are more general, all should be helpful! If you don't have 4 minutes to watch, a handy list is below.
Bones are Bad
Avoid giving bones to your dogs or cats, particularly turkey bones. Poultry bones easily splinter and can cause serious injury, while bone fragments can cause intestinal blockages or lacerations.
Chocolate and other sweets should not be given to animals. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that can be deadly to cats and dogs, though not harmful to humans. The best thing you can do for your pet over the holidays is to keep them on their regular diet. Look for healthy animal treats instead of giving your animal companions cookies, rich snacks or sweets meant for people.
Many popular holiday plants are poisonous to animals including mistletoe, holly, ornamental pepper and Christmas rose. Remember to keep these plants out of reach of pets – especially birds. Poinsettias are not poisonous to pets or people. This has been a long-standing rumour perpetuated for decades. Some pets may have a sensitivity to the latex contained in the plant and may get diarrhea or vomit.
Tinsel is Trouble
Having a Christmas tree and pets can be troublesome. Ensure the tree is well-secured and try to place the decorations above paw height. Using string to hang decorations instead of hooks helps, as hooks can be easily dislodged. If possible, use non-breakable ornaments. Avoid using tinsel or angel hair – cats and dogs will ingest both, which can cause intestinal problems. Cords for lights should be made inaccessible to pets, especially chewing puppies and exploring kittens. If you add chemicals to the water reservoir of your Christmas tree to help it last longer, keep in mind those chemicals are toxic to animals and keep the reservoir covered.
Avoid purchasing pet toys with small or soft pieces that can be chewed and swallowed. Nylon bones tend to splinter less than plastic ones. Be sure to inspect pet toys regularly and discard deteriorating ones.