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Twelve Dangers of Christmas

Reindeer Dog
Reindeer Dog

You have heard the song, the Twelve Days of Christmas.  With Thanksgiving behind us for this year, I would like to talk about twelve dangers of Christmas for pets.

     Let’s start with the Christmas tree.  Real trees are often in a base filled with water and a chemical that helps to keep them fresh.  Make sure your pet does not have access to that water, as the chemicals could harm your furry buddy.

     Numbers two and three on my list are Christmas lights and wires.  Make sure the lights are securely fastened to the tree and that all wires are protected from playful or inquisitive animals who could get the shock of their lives if they bite into a live one.

     Hooks and ornaments are next on the list of Christmas dangers, especially fragile glass ornaments that can shatter if they fall or are bitten, causing serious injury to an animal’s paws or mouth.

     For some reason pets like to eat tinsel.  It is not poisonous but could damage a pet’s intestinal tract or even cause a blockage, requiring emergency surgery.  Number Six on my list is ribbon, which can cause problems similar to tinsel.

     Number seven: Christmas plants, particularly the poinsettia.  While it is not poisonous, the colorful leaves contain a sap that can irritate your pet’s mouth and throat; if swallowed, it can upset the animal’s stomach.  Holly and mistletoe are more toxic than Poinsettias, especially the berries.

     Popular flowers at Christmas, including lilies, daffodils and Amaryllis can make your dog sick and could kill your cat.

     Finishing my list are candles (open flames can be deadly), small toys that could be swallowed, batteries, and pet Christmas sweaters, especially those with dangling parts that could be swallowed.

     If you think your pet has ingested anything that could harm it call your veterinarian immediately.  Don’t let an emergency steal the joy of the season for you, when you’re speaking of pets.


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.