Your family and friends probably aren’t the only ones who will be getting something special from you this holiday season — we bet you’ll be giving your pet a gift, too. But whether it’s an extra yummy treat or an awesome new toy, it’s important to make sure that the presents you give your cat or dog are actually safe for him to enjoy.
A trip to the veterinary emergency room during the holidays is a surefire way to ruin your festivities, so we’re sharing seven dangerous gifts you shouldn’t give your dog or cat.
Turkey, Chicken and Other Meat Bones
Of all the gifts your dog could get this year, leftover
turkey and chicken bones seem like they would be pretty high on his wish list. But
no amount of begging is worth the risk of giving him a meat bone. Any bones, including turkey,
chicken, pork and fish bones — whether they’re raw or cooked — can shatter
or splinter in your dog’s intestinal tract or cause intestinal blockage (or worse). Plus,
bones and bone fragments can be choking hazards.
If a toy is specifically made for pets, it must be safe,
right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Cat owners shouldn’t give
their kitties toys that have string, ribbon or yarn, since these can get stuck in
the intestines if accidentally swallowed. And before giving your cat a toy mouse,
make sure any glued-on eyes or noses are removed. Dog owners should think twice
about giving their pups balls that are too small, toys with string or ribbon, or
toys stuffed with beads or beans. It’s better to be safe than sorry: If a toy
seems like it could be dangerous, keep it away from your pet.
Your Rich or Fatty Leftovers
After a big holiday meal, you may feel like your pup
deserves to indulge a little, too. Before you feed him your leftovers, consider
this: Too much rich holiday fare could lead to pancreatitis, a potentially
life-threatening disease often characterized by vomiting, abdominal pain,
diarrhea and fever. If that’s not bad enough, some of the items on your plate
could contain toxic ingredients like garlic, onions and raisins. If you must give your pet a taste of your holiday dinner, make sure the
portion is small and doesn’t contain any toxic or rich ingredients.
Tinsel, Garland and Other Holiday Decor
It’s shiny, it’s crinkly and your cat probably loves to play
with it, but tinsel isn’t safe to give your pet. If your kitty accidentally
swallows this popular holiday decoration, it could harm his intestines and
require surgery for removal. The same goes for garland and other long, stringy
holiday decor. Keep it out of reach of your pet — or better yet, don’t decorate
with it at all.
Go ahead and keep all that gelt you won spinning the
dreidel for yourself — chocolate can be poisonous for pets. Chocolate contains
two toxic ingredients: caffeine and theobromine. In general, the more bitter
the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for your animal. Signs of chocolate poisoning
include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, panting and seizures.
Holiday Outfits That Don’t Fit
Santa hats and reindeer ears are certainly
adorable on pets, but you should make sure the outfit isn’t too big or too small. It
also shouldn’t have any loose bells, strings or other potentially harmful
items. And you should make sure your pet doesn’t mind wearing clothes — pawing
at or shaking off the outfit is a sign your pet isn’t a fan.
Sugar-Free Baked Goods or Candy
One of the best things about the holidays is when a neighbor
drops off a plate of delicious sweets and baked goods. You may be
tempted to share a bite of your sugar snowman cookie with your pet, but there’s
a chance it could contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that’s toxic to dogs and
possibly cats, too.