Whether you’ll be at home curled up on the couch with a movie, hosting a get-together, or going out, it’s important to take a few extra precautions to keep your pets safe this New Year’s Eve. After all, no one wants to ring in the new year with a sick pet. Join us as we count down the ten most common New Year’s Eve pet dangers!
Pop! That’s a sound no pet parent wants to hear. A piece of popped balloon can whip into your pet’s eyes and cause damage. If swallowed, balloon pieces can become a choking hazard or can cause an intestinal obstruction. Just err on the safe side and skip the balloons when decorating in a pet-friendly area of your home!
9. Tinsel and Confetti Poppers
As the clock strikes midnight, DO NOT use any confetti poppers that contain string, tinsel, garland, or pieces of plastic near your pets. Also, skip the tinsel, especially if you have a cat! Tinsel, as well as other string-like items, can get stuck beneath your cat’s tongue or in the stomach – another potential cause for an intestinal obstruction.
8. Loud Noises
If your city has a New Year’s Eve fireworks display, or if you’re hosting a get-together that may get loud at midnight, prepare a safe haven for your pet – especially if your pet has noise anxiety. To prevent pets from bolting out of the house, keep them in a closed-off room (or crate if trained) with music, white noise, or the TV on to help reduce the impact of more scary noises. You may also want to consider talking to your family veterinarian about medications, sprays, and training tips that may help reduce your pet’s anxiety.
Pets who get into the trash are more likely to eat toxic or hazardous foods, suffer exposure to tremorgenic mycotoxins from moldy foods, or experience pancreatitis. So, if you’re hosting a get-together, keep the trash secured and promptly clean up any messes! Also, it’s a good idea to take the trash out before heading to bed!
6. Fatty/Salty Foods
If you plan to serve snacks, keep them away from your pet! Salty, fatty, and sugary foods like butter, desserts, chips, popcorn, etc., can cause your pet to be extremely sick and may cause pancreatitis. If you are having company over, remind all your guests not to feed your pets without your permission.
5. Grapes, Raisins, & Zante Currants
Anything that contains grapes, raisins, or Zante currants (like fruitcake, breads, trail mix, and some salads) can cause kidney damage. If you choose to serve these foods, keep pets out of the food area, especially if snacks may be unattended!
4. Caffeine Products
Trying to stay awake ‘til midnight with coffee and energy drinks? While one or two small licks are unlikely to cause harm, a large amount of caffeine can cause increased blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias in pets. This can lead to tremors or seizures. Common sources of caffeine toxicity include coffee beans, teas, energy drinks, diet pills, etc.). Keep these items out of your pets’ reach. For coffee drinkers, we suggest using sealed containers to store grounds or beans!
Chocolate causes gastrointestinal upset, as well as cardiac and neurological side effects. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Cocoa powder and Baker’s chocolate are also highly dangerous. Determined pets typically find a way to get into desserts and chocolates placed on the counter or table, so we recommend keeping these goodies in the refrigerator or an upper cupboard!
Freshening up your breath for that midnight kiss? Careful where you place your gum or mints! These products, as well as oral hygiene products, makeup and skincare products, baby wipes, condiments, peanut butter, and many sugar-free foods like candies, desserts, and baked goods contain xylitol. This sugarless sweetener is highly toxic to pets and can cause low blood sugar levels, as well as liver damage and failure. Note that xylitol is also being labeled as “birch sugar” and “wood sugar,” so always read ingredient labels carefully!
1. Alcohol Toxicity
When consumed by pets, alcoholic beverages and alcohol-soaked foods cause drops in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature. Toxicity levels vary based on the type of alcohol and the amount consumed. Never leave drinks or alcoholic foods unattended with your pet present and clean up spills promptly. Another common cause of alcohol toxicity in pets is yeast dough. Keep pets out of the kitchen if you’re making homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, buns, etc. for the holiday!
We hope you and your pets have a safe New Year’s Eve, as well as a safe year ahead! Over the holidays and throughout the year, make sure to have contact information for your family veterinarian, ASPCA Animal Poison Control, and your local animal emergency hospital saved in your phone so you can quickly reach a veterinary professional if you require help in assessing your pet’s status.