AUSTIN - Could your holiday decor be the source of your pet's sickness? From tinsel to holly -- and everything in between -- decorations are a sure way to brighten up any room for the holidays, but for pets, some of these items could be toxic.
"It's going to happen one way or the other in some households,” Dr. Steve Harris said.
He’s the owner of Austin Veterinary Center, and he said it's common for pets to accidentally swallow decorations like package bows, tinsel and metal hooks from ornaments.
“All the way from that to small stuffed animals in the tree, they'll eat those,” he added.
It's a hazardous environment some pet owners don't realize they're exposing their furry friends to.
The American Veterinary Medical Association said broken ornaments can cause intestinal blockage or even become toxic, which could lead to severe surgery.
Dr. Harris said it's best to get rid of the hooks all together, replacing them with a short string instead.
“The fix for that is to get plastic ornaments,” Dr. Harris said.
But it's not just what's on the tree that can be dangerous -- certain plants can also pose a threat to your pet's health as well.
“Lilies are very toxic to cats and dogs. Mainly they're going to have GI (gastrointestinal disorder) upset, which means vomiting and diarrhea to varying degrees," he said.
The ASPCA lists: mistletoe, pine, cedar and holly as other common holiday plants to avoid. They recommend to use artificial plants made from plastic or silk. As for poinsettias, they can cause irritation for your pet's mouth and stomach if ingested.
“As long as they are up on a plant stand or table, that's probably not going to be an issue,” Dr. Harris said.
If you suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn't have, Dr. Harris recommends to keep canned pumpkin (unspiced) at home and feed it to them for at least a day. He said that should help wrap around the object to move it out.
To see the list of other toxic plants to keep pets away from, click here.
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