Keeping your pets safe and healthy this Christmas

MARQUETTE COUNTY — Christmas is next week, and everyone is rushing to the stores to get presents for family, friends, and pets. However, there are certain popular animal gifts that could pose safety risks to your pets.

Chew toys are a common gift for pet owners to purchase, but it’s important to choose the right one. Cheri Shevy of the Negaunee Veterinary Clinic says that rawhide bones in particular are one item to be cautious about. As rawhide bones become softer over time, parts can be bitten off. Those pieces cannot be digested, and that can lead to serious problems.

“Rawhide bones or any chew toy that dogs can get pieces off of can be problematic,” said Shevy. “So if they’re tearing through a rawhide and getting pieces off of it, that’s probably not a good idea. Anything you want to give them that they can’t get pieces off of like Nylabones or the stuffable treats where they’re getting pieces of food instead of toy, those are probably a better choice.”

Something else to be careful about when it comes to your pets is the Christmas tree. If your animal is drinking the water at the base of your tree, they might consume some of the pine needles, which can upset their stomachs. Poinsettias are another seasonal household plant that are also mildly toxic to pets.

Decorations on your tree or around your house are another thing to be watchful of as well.

“Watch out for anything they’re eating that is a decoration off the tree,” said Shevy. “Cats tend to chew tinsel, and the ribbons from the gifts might be eaten by cats and some small dogs, so be careful of those too.”

As always, make sure your pets aren’t out in the cold for too long. Check the pads of their feet, their ears, and their noses for signs of frostbite. Shevy says a good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t want to be out for too long in the cold, neither would your pet.