I’ve heard that poinsettias are terribly poisonous for cats. Should I worry about my cat getting sick if I bring a poinsettia into my home?
Fear of Poinsettias in Forest Pines
Dear Fear of Poinsettias,
While poinsettias do have a sap that can cause irritation if ingested, the plant is actually not as dangerous to your pets as people believe. In fact, experts warn that there are other dangers during the holidays that are much more likely to send you and your pet to the vet. In no particular order, here are some of the most dangerous holiday household hazards for your pet (spoiler: Poinsettias are the least of your worries).
Tinsel and flocking
While both of these items do so much to make your tree look more festive, they pose significant risks to your pets. As you might know, cats like to play with anything string-like and sometimes chew on it. If your cat eats tinsel, a whole host of problems can ensue and veterinary care (and sometimes surgery) might be needed.
Flocking might look like all-natural snow on your tree but it is made up of chemicals that are toxic if consumed. Make sure to keep your pets from eating the “snow” on the tree – and, while you’re at it, make sure any children (or confused adults!) who are in the home know to do the same.
Christmas tree water
The preservatives that are used in the water of a fresh Christmas tree to keep it healthy and hydrated throughout the holiday season can make pets very ill. This preservative is typically sugar-based, which can be harmful to pets if ingested. Also, bacteria tends to grow in this water, so your pet could get a serious case of intestinal distress if he or she decides to drink from the tree’s water bowl.
Christmas toys often come with batteries – lots and lots of batteries. Sometimes curious kitties like to chew on shiny objects and batteries are often the chew toy of choice. Unfortunately, batteries are extremely toxic to pets and can cause acid burns and cuts that require medical attention. Make sure to keep all batteries off the floor and out of reach of curious pets.
Having a pet in the home during the holidays shouldn’t mean that you have to forego all of your festive decor and habits. Just take into consideration things that might be dangerous and plan accordingly to keep your pets safe during the holidays. Trust me, no one wants to end up in the vet clinic this holiday season – not you, not your pet and not your wallet!
Pet of the Week
Sandy is a 1-year-old Lab mix who was found abandoned along the Hardy Tollway in the pouring rain. Despite her treacherous beginnings, Sandy is playful, loving, eager to please and gets along well with other pets in the home. She would make a lovely addition to most any family – and is a great watch dog to boot! To learn more about Sandy, go to www.animaljusticeleague.org.