‘Tis the Season to Avoid Pet Emergencies
Home decoration tips:
- Mistletoe, poinsettias, amaryllis, chrysanthemum, rhododendron, winter broom and holly can be harmful if eaten by your pet. Keep these plants out of reach or display fake plants instead.
- Lilies are often used in holiday arrangements and are dangerous for your cat. They can cause kidney failure, even in small amounts.
- Make your holiday decorations pet-safe. Decorate your tree with the tinsel at the top. Tinsel is tempting for cats to play with and can cause cuts in the mouth as well as blocked intestines if eaten.
- Glass ornaments can can break and cut your pets’ paws.
- Electrical cords can be enticing to curious pets, especially rabbits, kittens and puppies. Tape them down or cover the cords to prevent burns, shocks, and other serious injuries to your pet.
- Keep batteries away from pets. Batteries contain caustic material and if ingested, can cause chemical burns on the tongue, mouth, muzzle, and stomach of your pet.
Tips from the kitchen:
- Who doesn’t want to give a few table scraps to their beloved pet as a special treat? However, excessively rich or fatty foods can trigger pancreatitis, an inflammatory disease of the pancreas.
- Chocolate can increase heart rate, cause tremors, or excitation, depending on the type and the quantity ingested and can be life-threatening.
- Eating uncooked bread dough can also be life-threatening. The animal’s body heat will cause the dough to rise in the stomach. Alcohol is produced during the rising process, and the dough may expand to several times its original size.
- Grapes and raisins have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs when eaten in larger quantities.
- Other potentially dangerous food items for pets include moldy or spoiled foods, coffee grounds, onions, alcoholic beverages, macadamia nuts (for dogs), and avocado (for birds).
When hosting a holiday party:
- Provide a quiet and relaxing retreat. The number of house guests and parties increases during the holiday season, and pets don’t know what to make of all the extra household activity and noise. Allowing them their own private sanctuary will reduce the amount of stress they experience and the number of “accidents” you’ll have to clean up off your floors and carpets.
- Provide plenty of extra drinking water and cover your tree stands completely. Discourage your pet from drinking water from tree stands, particularly if you treat it with preservatives or aspirin to prolong the life of your tree. Both can prove lethal to pets and even untreated water can contain life-threatening bacteria.
- Toys offer a multitude of activities for pets and will help to reduce anxiety and relieve boredom.
- Identify your pet. If you haven’t purchased an ID tag for your pet before the holiday season, make this the first gift you give him. Monitor people going in and out of the door. With all the coming and going and opening and closing of the front door, it’s just too easy for a pet to slip out and get lost, taken, or hit by a car.
For those who want to give gifts to their pets (or to other pet lovers for their pets), we suggests the four F’s:
- Food (rawhide, bones, natural treats)
- Fashion (fashionable collars or leashes)
- Fitness (balls, plush toys, catnip, interactive toys)
- Fun (seasonally inspired toys and treats).
The last thing any pet owner wants to do on Christmas is rush their pet to the animal emergency room. But, the truth is that many pets are injured or poisoned during the holidays. Keep your veterinarian’s phone number and the local animal emergency hospital handy. A quick call to either of them can give you life-saving advice or even help you avoid a trip to the ER. A watchful eye and careful preparation can help make the holidays both safe and enjoyable for you and your pet.
We wish you a safe and happy holiday season!