Holiday Precautions

The last thing any pet owner wants to do this holiday season is make a trip to the vet’s office.  Amongst all the glory of the holidays, there are a few items that could be potentially dangerous to your pet. I mean cmon, that shiny tinsel looks like it would be a great play thing, right?  Who can blame our animals for finding holiday items appealing and fun to play with? However, the fact of the matter is every year vets treat animals for electrocution, ingestion of foreign objects, burns, cuts from broken glass, and poisoning from toxic plants or chemicals. With a bit of common sense and knowledge, we can protect our yuletide friends from holiday mishaps.

Although Pointsettias aren’t particularly tasty, they excrete a sap that cats and dogs find irresistable. If consumed, it can induce vomiting, throat and tounge irritation and gastrointestianal problems. If a cat or dog has consumed a large quantity of Pointsettia,  you should place a call to the vet immediately.   Two other holiday plants to be wary of are holly and mistletoe. These plants contain poisonous berries that have greater toxicity levels than the Pointsettia. If a large amount of either of these plants is consumed, a drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, hallucinations,  seizures or death may occur.  Be sure to be very careful with the placement of  holiday plants in your household. If your pet seems to be overly interested in a certain plant, make sure that it’s kept up high well out of paw reach.

Even the Christmas tree presents its own set of hazards. Pine needles can be ingested which can lead to obstructions and even perforations. The needles and sap of pine and fir trees is irritating. If your pet eats enough, they will likely suffer gastric upset.  Pets may also knock the tree over, so you can keep it in a closed off room to prevent this from happening. This stops pets from drinking water from the tree as well. The water usually contains sharp needles and chemicals used to preserve the tree. And of course, the ornaments, tinsel, electrical cords, and various other decorations pose another threat. Remember the cat in Christmas Vacation? Don’t let that be your pet! Tape your electrical cords to the floor, use ribbons instead of hooks for your ornaments, and elevate your candles.  

Not just during the holidays do we enjoy a lot of the foods that can be hazardous to our pets. Some types of food such as chocolate,  alcohol, caffeine, grapes and raisins, and excessively salty foods can make pets very ill. Poultry bones can splinter and perforate the digestive tract. These are just some extra things to keep in mind when little Jimmy is sneaking table scraps to Rover.   

 With these few simple precautions, your furry friend and you can enjoy the holidays safely.

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