Dec 14 2016

Holiday Hazards

A clinic dog opening a christmas present

The holiday season is a festive time, but the season also brings added dangers for pets. Be aware of the following dangers to your pets and plan to avoid them to make the holiday season safe and fun for everyone.

Tinsel and ribbons should be kept out of reach or avoided altogether if you have a curious cat. These decorations can cause severe damage to your cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed.

Electrical cords and lights can cause electrical shock and start a fire if chewed on and played with. Unplug lights when leaving pets unattended to avoid potential dangers.

Seasonal plants can be toxic to both dogs and cats. You should become familiar with toxic and non-toxic plants.In some cases, only mild indigestion and discomfort will result, in other cases, the toxicity can lead to more severe health problems, and even fatalities. Plants can also be treated with pesticides which can be toxic. Poinsettia, Holly and Mistletoe berries and leaves (even dried plants); Lilies and Daffodils, Amaryllis and Christmas cactus are just a few of the common holiday plants. Common symptoms seen with ingesting toxic plants include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes excessive salivation (drooling). In some cases, such as holly berry ingestion, tremors or seizures may be seen, followed by coma and death.

Chocolates and Candy should be kept out of reach from both dogs and cats. Chocolate can be toxic to pets, and the severity of toxicity depends on the type of chocolate, amount ingested and the size of the animal. It is best to avoid feeding anything containing chocolate to your pet, and keep it out of reach. Many candies and sugarless gum may contain xylitol which is extremely toxic to cats and dogs.  Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure or even death in both dogs and cats.

Trees may contain preservatives, pesticides and fertilizers to keep it fresh, which may be poisonous to dogs and cats. Do not allow dogs or cats to drink the water used to hydrate your tree. Pine needles may cause gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction and even puncture the gastrointestinal tract if chewed or swallowed.

Visitors are an exciting part of the holidays, but constant visitors and activity can be confusing and stressful for pets. Old or sick pets may be more sensitive to extra activity and a change of routine. Signs of stress may show up as stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and irritability. Make sure your pets have a safe, quiet space to retreat to.

Having your local veterinary emergency clinic phone number and address and poison control helpline on hand can save crucial time in case of an emergency.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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