Pet Safety Tips for the Holidays

We all know that cats and dogs love to chew (and unfortunately swallow) a surprising array of household items. In fact, one of the most common claims we receive at Trupanion is for Foreign Body Ingestion.

The holidays, along with all of its festive decorations, provides additional chewing opportunities – and potential emergency visits to the veterinarian – for our furry friends.  So as we all start to deck the halls this holiday season, Trupanion, a leader in medical insurance for cats & dogs, offers up these 5 holiday items (along with related mishaps from Holidays past) to keep pets away from this holiday season.

 1) Tinsel

Tinsel and ribbon can cause a tangled mess in the intestines if swallowed by a pet – ideally it should not be used in households with cats. A British Shorthair cat from Oregon ingested tinsel which resulted in a trip to the veterinary – the Trupanion policy paid out $807

 2) Ornaments

Make sure to hang any small or fragile ornaments high enough on your tree to avoid the wagging tail of your dog or a paw swipe from your cat.  Although keep in mind, that for many cats there is no safe height. A lovable pooch in Washington state made an emergency visit to the vet when they ate a Christmas ornament – the Trupanion policy paid out $4,495

 3) Holiday lights

Pets are drawn to holiday lights, just like we are. The only difference is they may be tempted to chew on them. Be sure to also keep the electrical cords taped down or out of reach. A Brittany spaniel from Indiana succumbed to the temptation to chew and ingested some Christmas lights. After a trip to the veterinarian the Trupanion policy paid out $1,566.

 4) Turkey bones

Bones from turkey and other traditional main courses around the holidays can have dangerous effects when in the mouths of dogs and cats. Cooked bones especially can splinter and break, causing serious internal injury. An enthusiastic dog in Alberta found himself at the veterinarian after he ingested some turkey bones a few days after Christmas – the Trupanion policy paid out $3,800.

 5) Holiday plants and trees

Many holiday plants can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested by your dog or cat.  These include holly, mistletoe and amaryllis.  A Shih Tzu from California ingested poinsettias, which are toxic to dogs. After a trip to the veterinarian the Shih Tzu was back in tip top shape – the Trupanion policy paid out $59.  Lilies are also extremely toxic for cats, even contact with the pollen or water in the vase may be enough to cause kidney failure.

 “If you have a Christmas tree, make sure it is secure – it doesn’t take much for a cat or excited dog to knock it over, said Dr. Sarah Nold, Staff Veterinarian at Trupanion. “You should also take care to restrict your pet’s access to the tree’s water or ingestion of the tree’s needles, because both may cause vomiting and diarrhea, and can contribute to a tipped tree.”

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