Holiday Hazards for Your Pets
The holiday season is upon us. We all love to celebrate the holidays with family and friends which includes our pets of course! Nothing signifies the holidays more than turkeys, hams, desserts, decorations, parties and Christmas trees. All of these things can be potentially dangerous, even fatal for your pets.
If you are the host of the party or family gathering, think about your pets needs before guests arrive. Is your cat disturbed by new people? Does your dog have a tendency to jump on visitors? Are your pets likely to bite a child? If so, it may be best for your guests, you, as well as your pet, to be in a quiet room away from the action.
If your pets are well trained and enjoy socializing you must still be cautious. Your guests may not realize that the drink or uneaten food they left on the coffee table is in easy reach of your pet. A young child may have pleasure feeding your pet foods that can make your pet ill. Please be aware that dogs love chocolate as well as alcohol, both are very dangerous for dogs and can even cause death. If your dog shows symptoms of loss of coordination or deep sleep, contact us immediately.
Dogs and cats love the holiday menu as much as we do. They can eat large quantities very quickly and they don't mind if it's cooked or raw. This can cause an upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea for a day or more. Dogs are particularly susceptible to pancreatitis from consuming food that is not usually in their diet.
Food is not the only kitchen hazard. Things that are used in preparing holiday meals present potential problems as well. Carving knives, string as well as skewers present obvious hazards. Do not give your pets bones! Ham bones are the perfect size to lodge in your pet's intestine and turkey bones splinter. If your pet consumes anything mentioned above, it is most likely going to be a surgical emergency.
Poinsettias fill our homes with color during the holidays. Poinsettias are not very toxic to pets. They do contain a milky sap that can irritate the mouth if signs do develop they are usually mild. Cats especially like to eat plants, offer your cat wheatgrass to chew on, this will help keep your cat happy and healthy.
There are many species of Holly (genus Ilex). Berries and leaves can be a problem although signs of poisonings are generally mild, and include vomiting, belly pain, and diarrhea.
Mistletoe can be very toxic to animals and you should seek veterinary consultation immediately if your pet has potentially ingested any part of the plant. Mistletoe can cause vomiting, severe diarrhea, difficult breathing, shock and death within hours of ingestion.
Pets adore Christmas trees as much as we do. Cats like to climb on them; dogs like to make them fall. Pets and children can get cuts from stepping on or playing with broken ornaments. Some dogs and cats will mark your Christmas tree with urine. Dogs will eat ornaments and candy canes, wrapper included! Often pets will chew on light cords, which can shock or kill them. Dogs and cats eat tinsel, which can lodge in their intestines and cause a blockage. This can present a surgical emergency.
Take the extra time and care in preparing your Christmas tree to reduce the chances of it becoming a danger to your pet. Anchor the tree in at least two places for stability. Don't use edible ornaments and save the fragile ornaments for the top half of the tree, keeping them out of your pets reach. Tape light cords to the tree so they are not openly exposed on the floor, as this is all too tempting no to be played with. Avoid using tinsel on your tree; it's irresistible to your pet and so dangerous for them. This is especially true with young puppies and kittens.
Giving your pet extra attention and exercise during the holiday season as this will help reduce the chances of them getting into mischief.
Puppies and kittens are not good holiday gifts! The purchase or adoption of an animal is not a decision that should be made impulsively. We all see the images of the puppy sitting under the Christmas tree with the big bow; this is not a good idea for several reasons. Perhaps a more responsible way to approach giving an animal as a gift is to symbolize the gift to come. You can give books on the care of a puppy or kitten, feeding bowls, collars, etc. Once the holidays have passed, give the owner-to-be the change to decide what breed best suits their lifestyle. Then, together you can welcome home the new puppy or kitten.