December 09, 2020 Pet Safety

The Top Winter Holiday Hazards for Pets in a Pandemic

A dog looks at two holiday cocktails on a table

The Top Winter Holiday Hazards for Pets in a Pandemic

In past holiday seasons, I have written about a variety of holiday-specific dangers: electric cords, candles, party fare, gift wrap and ribbon. I’ve also written about chocolate poisoning and toxic floral arrangements. Even though holiday activities will be scaled back this year, these pet dangers continue to pose a threat. My focus for today’s blogpost is not the typical holiday danger, but the new ones that have accompanied pandemic lifestyle changes as reported by the Pet Poison Helpline. These dangers will be with us until pandemic restrictions ease.

Working from Home Pet Hazards

For people working from home, the day typically starts with a cup of Joe. While none of us plan to share that cup with our furry co-worker, the Pet Poison Helpline reports an increase in pets drinking brewed coffee and eating coffee grounds since millions now have their cup of coffee at home instead of in the car or at the office. A sip of pumpkin spice may not be so nice for your cat or dog.

Working from home has turned Happy Hour into Yappy Hour. Curious pets now have the opportunity to imbibe a cold one, a cocktail or a cabernet at the end of the day. Beer, wine, mixed drinks can quickly and dangerously intoxicate pets, so keep adult beverages out of reach of pets.

New Hobbies Pose a Threat to Pets

I revived my ailing sourdough bread starter when the pandemic hit last March. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. The Pet Poison Helpline reports a dramatic increase in calls about ingestion of yeast and bread dough since March. When pets eat yeast, it ferments in the warmth of the stomach producing alcohol. As I said above, pets can easily develop alcohol intoxication. Bread dough delivers a double whammy. The yeast in the bread dough produces alcohol and also causes the dough to expand or rise in the stomach. This expanding mass of dough can result in bloat.

Not everyone is baking bread, though. Some have taken up artistic efforts in quarantine, and this has resulted in increased calls to the Pet Poison Helpline for pets eating or coming in contact with art supplies.

Do-It-Yourself Dangers for Pets

Many of us are tackling home improvement projects in lockdown. Painting, closet reorganization and cleaning the garage can be risky for the family pet. The Pet Poison Helpline reports increases in calls for pets getting into spackle and paint. Best to refuse your pet’s offers to help in any home improvement project, or your paint job may be disrupted by a trip to the animal ER.

The AMC veterinary staff hopes your holiday festivities don’t involve a call to animal poison control, but in case it does, post these numbers where they are easily accessible in an emergency.

Recently, AMC’s Usdan Institute for Animal Health Education featured my colleague Dr. Carly Fox in a virtual event focused on pet holiday safety. If you missed it, the recording is posted on AMC’s website for your review.

Tags: bloat, fire safety, holiday pet safety, holidays, pet poisons, Pets and Alcohol,

Related Posts

  • Pet Safety
    A little girl with a puppy
    December 21, 2009

    Holiday Safety Tips for Your Pets

    Learn More
  • Pet Safety
    December 13, 2012

    Holiday Hazards 2012

    Learn More
  • Dogs
    An x-ray of a dog with bloat
    July 16, 2014

    What Causes Bloat in Dogs?

    Learn More