Protect Your Pets During the Holidays – Toxic Plants & Decorations

It really is the most beautiful time of the year – but it can also be the most toxic to our pets.

Contrary to belief, poinsettas are among the least toxic. Mistletoe, holly berries, lilies and japanese yews are much more toxic to our pets when they ingest them.

Older artificial trees can contain PVC, or polyvinylchlorides (even sound horrible don’t they?), which in and of themselves contain lead. If your artificial tree is very old, you may want to replace it with a newer one which doesn’t contain lead.

Same goes for those old light strings – I know, I know, some of those old light strings can stir up wonderful childhood memories every time we string them up and stare into them, but the truth is, they’re loaded with lead too.

More modern light strings have no lead but may contain phthalates and parabens which, if ingested, can cause hormonal disruptions. (And while your cat, dog, bird, ferret or lizard may not be tempted to eat the new light strings, make sure you protect yourself from absorbing the hormonal chemicals and wash your hands right after handling them.)

Holiday ornaments like the old bubble lights contain liquid substances that are loaded with chemicals that are dangerous to pets. Beautiful as they are, if you have a curious pet who gets into everything, think twice about hanging these on the tree, or at least hang them high enough your pet can’t reach them.

Tinsel is a wonderful enhancement to any holiday tree, but every year hundreds of animals are subjected to unnecessary abdominal surgery because they’ve eaten a string or two (or more) and they won’t pass through the intestines.

If you want to add holiday scents to your home, don’t use the store bought plug-in types. These contain substances that are harmful to pets and humans when they’re inhaled. Better choices might be the use of real essential oils via a diffuser or sprayed into the air, or even heating apples and cinnamon and spices on the stove (gets the scent into the entire house and isn’t toxic at all).

While we’re on the subject of toxic chemicals and pets, remember to keep anti-freeze products out of their reach! By nature, animals are drawn to the scent of anti-freeze and will drink it if in reach. Countless animals die each year by ingesting anti-freeze so keep it out of reach and in a locked cabinet.

Provide your pets with natural, organic species-specific chews during the holiday season – it may lessen the temptation to chew on holiday decorations (and they’ll love you for it).

For more information check out this site provided by the folks at Pet Poison Hotline:

Holiday Pet Toxins