By BJ Towe

At a recent Furever Friends Rescue board meeting, I mentioned this column’s focus would be on some common holiday hazards for pets. One board member said, “Don’t forget – never give your pets bacon.” Whaaaat? I confess I occasionally treated my pups to nibbles of bacon, but not any longer. It turns out that bacon is so rich, fatty and loaded with salt that it can cause pancreatitis in pets, which can be fatal.

So, add bacon to the list of foods that should always be “off the table” for pets. Some of these items are especially prevalent at Thanksgiving and Christmas:

  • Turkey and turkey skin, which – like bacon – can cause pancreatitis.
  • Ham, with its high salt content, can lead to bloat and can be deadly.
  • Chocolate and other sweets and baked goods sweetened with xylitol, which has been linked to liver failure and death.
  • Onions, raisins, grapes, avocados, mushrooms, macadamia nuts and walnuts can all be toxic to pets.

For a more complete list of foods that can be poisonous for your pet, read our latest blog entry at

When it comes time to put up the tree and decorate for Christmas, remember that many dogs and cats also find the allure of seasonal trimmings hard to resist, but they too can present some serious hazards:

  • Be sure to anchor Christmas trees so climbers or wagging tails won’t knock it over. Any preservative or chemicals added to the tree’s water can be toxic. Keep breakable and glass ornaments out of paw’s reach and be aware that tinsel, garlands and metal hangers can be swallowed and cause serious injury or death.
  • Packages with ribbon or yarn bows may be fun to play with but, if swallowed, they can become lodged in your pet’s intestines.
  • Keep lighted candles, fragrance oils and warmers, potpourri and sachets, and batteries where they can’t be knocked over, chewed on or ingested.
  • If your pet is prone to chewing, take care with any exposed electrical and extension cords.
  • Several holiday plants can cause pets to become sick, or worse. Lilies, poinsettias, mistletoe and holly, amaryllis, hibiscus and English ivy should all be kept out of reach.

Finally, just as the holidays can be stressful for us, the change in routine can be stressful for Tigger and Miss Kitty. Let them know they’re still tops by heaping on some extra doses of TLC. For example, take some extra walks to help relieve some of the stress – for both of you!