Holiday Hazards

Upon checking my email this morning, I received an announcement from Hachi's veterinarian about the common holiday hazards for dogs and cats and ways to prevent them. The first reminder stated:

Dangerous Foods
The following can be toxic to pets: chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, garlic, onion, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, bread dough, and sugar-free candy and gum containing artificial sweetener xylitol.

What did I do when I read this section? I sighed. Hachi striked three times already and we are still in the midst of the holiday season. Below is a recap of her most recent incidents:

- Early November, Hachi ate a loaf of bread from the kitchen counter and hid her leftovers under the bed of the guest room.

- Mid-November, she helped our friend finish his cup of joe voluntarily. We came running down the stairs to see all fours on the couch and her head dipped into the mug on the coffee table. With the countless hours of naps Hachi takes in throughout the day, my jaw dropped seeing her inhale that caffeine.

- Yesterday, Hachi spotted my parents' gift to another family member and decided to sample the chocolates herself. She even left a wrapper in her doggie bowl, a walnut chew in the crevice of the couch, and one extra piece on the stairway (in case if she ever wants to eat it while walking up the stairs).

Hachi is funny when it comes to confrontation. On any given day, Hachi would always greet Greg and I at the door. For the other three occurrences, Hachi would be busy hiding her stash and hope that we do not notice anything. In my imagination, she performs these antics with the song, "Somebody's Watching Me," by Rockwell. Silly dog...we are just grateful she is safe and the food did not affect her too much. This only means Greg and I need to "Hachi Proof" our home a bit a more for the rest of December.

My Holiday Offender

If you are interested in the list of holiday hazards for pets, here you go:

Dangerous Foods                         
The following can be toxic to pets: chocolate, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, garlic, onion, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, bread dough, and sugar-free candy and gum containing the artificial sweetener xylitol.
Regular Foods
Despite tradition, bones should never be given to pets. Even beef, ham, and other "regular" foods that are not considered toxic can cause illness in pets. If your pet is a moocher, keep a saucer of his regular treats on the table to offer when he asks. He probably won't know the difference!      
New Treats and Toys                                
Even a pet-safe treat can cause stomach upset if it is new to your pet. Offer only one of these at a time (ideally, separated by a few days). If your pet becomes ill after eating a holiday treat, it will be easier to trace the source and discontinue it. Also, check new toys for sharp edges, pieces that can be chewed off, or other potential hazards.          
Hazardous plants include mistletoe, some evergreens (including some types of pine), and holly bushes and berries. Try to keep these plants away from pets, or at least supervise pets when dangerous plants are nearby.
Tinsel, tree ornaments, ribbons, string, and garlands are some items that can be dangerous if eaten by pets. Keep these items away from pets — especially when pets are unattended. Don't forget to cover any electrical cords or keep them out of reach.   
Fire and Carbon Monoxide                               
Monitor pets near fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, candles, and portable heaters. Also, don't forget to check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are functioning properly. Space heaters, furnaces, and idling cars (in a garage) can increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in pets and humans.          
Christmas Trees                          

Monitor your pets when they are around your holiday tree. Pets may eat the needles (even from artificial trees) or drink water from the base of the tree, which can be toxic (especially if there are preservatives in it). Keep electrical cords and decorative lights out of reach, too.      

Hope you are all having a hazard-free holiday season!