Crafting with Care: Pet Safety Tips for Holiday Arts and Crafts

December 6, 2016

Cat with christmas tree ornaments

The holiday season is upon us, and now more than ever you may be feeling the urge to jump on Pinterest and break out the arts and crafts supplies for some festive fun. If you’re planning on crafting this year, make sure you know which supplies could be a potential hazard to your pet’s health. Here is everything you need to know from the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) about the products and chemicals you should be aware of.

Did you know that the salt dough ornament that your child brings home from school could have serious consequences for your pet? This common holiday craft project is something you generally wouldn’t think twice about. However, salt dough is typically made with flour, water, and salt that is then baked until dried. These ornaments can be easily confused for a salty dog treat by your pet. The salt in the dough can cause dogs to vomit, drink lots of water and potentially develop high levels of sodium in the blood. These high levels of sodium in the blood (called hypernatremia) can cause your pet to have seizures and, if left untreated, can cause death. Make sure that any salt dough (even projects or ornaments that are years old) are kept out of reach of pets. If your pet does eat salt dough, even a small amount could be dangerous—so be sure to contact your veterinarian or the APCC right away.

A similar dough calls for applesauce, cinnamon, and glue. While not typically a huge issue, it can cause vomiting, so be wary and keep any tempting projects away from your pets.

Keep an eye on product labels and packaging for art and creative materials. The Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) has a seal on many products such as chalk, paint, glitter, colored pencils, crayons and inks. If the seal reads “AP” (Approved Product) that means that the product is not toxic. However, if the seal reads “CL” (Cautionary Labeling) and you believe your animal ingested one of these products you should contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center right away.

Remember that introducing new things into your pet’s environment could lead to curious and sometimes strange ingestions. With many art and craft supplies—such as pom poms, craft sticks, colored pencils and kinetic sand—making their way into your home, the biggest concern and question you should ask yourself is, “Will that make it through my dog’s stomach?” Some products, such as colored pencils, can cause irritation to the stomach or may become stuck in the stomach or intestines and need to be removed surgically.

Don’t worry though, that glitter that your pet may have just licked up off of the floor isn’t a cause for concern (though it can result in some festive feces)!

If you fear that your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous ingredient or object, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888)-426-4435 right away. Happy holidays—and happy crafting!