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Holiday Tips: Including Our Animal Companions while Preventing Dangers

My dear friends With holiday season upon us I want to share with you some tips on how to prevent potential dangers to our animal companions and still include them in our holiday festivities. Here are 5 top holiday dangers to animals: 1. TINSELS & ORNAMENTS TINSELS are particularly attractive to cats and can cause a serious damage of intestines once swallowed as they bunch and twist inside and the body cannot expel them. Immediate veterinarian care is required, otherwise they can be fatal. I learned this myself the hard way with my cat Čert when he was about year and half old and had his first Christmas tree. This was about 14 years ago, before I reconnected with my animal communication ability and so I was pretty much living through this experience just like any of us would.

I always decorate my tree way lavishly and it has to be full of ornaments, garland and of course tinsels. Funny, that my other cat Little Shit never cared for tinsels even though he enjoyed the tree very much. So I didn't really expect anything different with Cert.

I made the tree the day before Christmas Eve as is the custom in my country because our big celebration is on Christmas Eve. Both cats were helping me to decorate and loving it and stayed by the tree all night.

The morning of Christmas Eve I noticed that Cert was a little gloomy and not his usual perky active self and he also threw up. I saw he threw up a few tinsels. Still not really suspecting anything I gave him his favorite tuna to make him feel better and he ate but threw up again and then a few times more still with tinsels but eventually just a foamy liquid. I was really busy cooking and preparing the evening meal as I had guests over but I decided to call his vet just to be sure that this is nothing serious.

Once I told the vet that Cert threw up tinsels they told me to bring him immediately. I was still not really alarmed, I thought they may just give him something to make him expel whatever he ate and he would be fine.

However that was not the case.

The doctor took X-rays and came out to tell me that apparently Cert ate a lot of tinsels and his entire digestive track was full of them. He needed an emergency surgery to remove it and I needed to make up my mind ASAP because the surgeon already left for home so they'd have to recall him - and since it was a holiday, the rate was double - $5,000. Plus Cert would stay in hospital for couple days, basically over the holidays.

I cannot describe the shock I was in.

First at that time I had no idea about the tinsel danger, second Cert was not looking all that sick to have this serious surgery. He also is very slim cat being half oriental and I couldn't imagine how can the surgeon even find his intestines leave alone clean then without tearing them to shreds. It also didn't help that a few weeks prior I'd read an article about dishonest vets performing unnecessary procedures on animals just to get money out of people.

After a bound of hysterical crying and carrying on (they actually had to move me from waiting room to private room as I was scaring the other waiting people :)) and calling my entire family in Czech Rep in, for them, an ungodly hour (like 3 am in their time) I decide to go ahead with the surgery. He was my baby and I didn't care how much money I would spend on him as long as he survived it. The vet send me home and said they would call me once the surgery was done.

After about two hours they did. The surgery was success and Cert lives.

The next day when I came to visit him, they showed me a full zip lock bag of tinsels they got out of his intestines. The doctor said he never saw a cat eat so much of it and if they hadn't performed the surgery he would have died.

My friend and I handpicked all the tinsels off the tree before Cert came home from the hospital and that was the end of tinsels or anything glittering on my tree from then on. I would not wish this experience on anyone as that particular Christmas came to be known as the Christmas with the most expensive Christmas tree in Los Angeles :). Beside tinsels also the ORNAMENTS can attract your animal's curiosity and if broken they can create a chocking hazard or lacerate animals intestines, throat or mouth if chewed or swallowed. Place any glass, aluminum or any other fragile ornaments higher up on the tree out of paws and noses reach. 2. HOLIDAY LIGHTING & CANDLES If your animal likes to chew, ropes of holidays light will be particularly attractive to him. Electrical shock can occur if your dog chomps down on electrical cord causing serious injury and possible death. Now some cats loves to chew on electrical cords as well so watch out for tale signs of nibbles or chewing and use a grounded three - prong extension cord as a safety precaution. CANDLES - common sense tells you not to leave burning candle unattended and it is right. Be sure to place the candle somewhere safe and unreachable for your pet. They can burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock a candle over. They can also burn their paws on hot wax. 3. HOLIDAY PLANTS

Some of our favorite holiday plants are a serious danger for our animal. POINSETTIA can cause serious irritation of stomach and vomiting. MISTLETOE has a similar affect and also can cause cardiovascular problems, difficulty breathing, collapse and even death. HOLLY and Christmas tree PINE NEEDLES also causes intense vomiting, diarrhea , depression and trembling. Any variety of LILIES can cause kidney failure in cats if even one leaf is digested. 4. HOLIDAY FOOD

By now you know not to feed your animal chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol. But really "human food" loaded with sugar, fat , processed ingredients and chemicals is not good for humans so why it would be good for our animals?

Give your animal some extra healthy treats to celebrate or even a piece of turkey breast will do just fine for the occasion.

Stay away from anything spicy, fatty, splintered bones and any scraps from the plates. Also some nuts are toxic to animals (almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, walnuts) and can cause in mild case of vomiting and nausea and in worse cases seizures and neurological episodes.

Keep your furry family members away from the food on the table and any unattended plates of food and secure the lids on garbage cans. Exercise same caution with your cocktails. If an animal ingests alcohol it can become sick an even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.


Discard any ribbons and bows wrapped around holiday gifts quickly so your animal is not tempted to play with it or chew on it as this is potentially serious chocking hazard if ingested. It can twist in animals intestines and require surgery very much like tinsels and if unattended, it can ultimately lead to death.


- CHRISTMAS TREE: No matter if your tree is real or fake make sure it is well secured and your animals cannot knock it over. Again speaking from my own experience when my cat Little Shit kept knocking the tree down every time I left the house to let me know he didn't want to be left alone. Fortunately nothing happened to him but animals can get hurt by a falling tree. Keep the tree water covered so your cat or dog doesn't drink from it. Nothing breeds bacteria more than stagnant tree water and your animal can get sick from it.