Updated: Thursday, 13 Dec 2012, 4:46 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 13 Dec 2012, 11:24 AM EST
The holiday season is a wonderful time for friends and family to be together and celebrate. However, it is important for pet owners to remember that this season is full of potential threats to our four-legged family members, and special precautions should be taken to keep our pets happy and healthy. This article reviews some of the common holiday hazards encountered by our pets.
This time of year I am always reminded of the story that my boss, Dr. Hugh Glidewell, frequently tells of the cat that he treated years ago that somehow managed to impale itself on a metal decorative Christmas tree. Amazingly enough, the tree managed to miss all vital structures and the cat made a full recovery, but this brings up a key point: pets seem to have a knack for getting themselves into trouble, especially when there are new things in their environment to explore. Pets who too closely investigate the Christmas tree, a burning candle, or other holiday decorations may injure themselves, and possibly create a fire hazard. Also, there seems to be a never-ending supply of things for pets to chew on and potentially ingest this time of year. For example, cats frequently become ill after eating tinsel or ribbon. Also, electrical cords for holiday lights can cause electrocution and burns if chewed on.
Keep these ideas in mind as you decorate this holiday season and try to look at things from your pet’s perspective and imagine what trouble they might get into.
Some of the more commonly encountered food hazards this time of the year include chocolate, alcohol, and fatty foods. In addition to causing an upset stomach, chocolate can be toxic to pets if they ingest a significant quantity. The results of which may include severe neurologic signs and even death. The ingestion of high fat foods may lead to the development of pancreatitis, a potentially deadly disease that often causes fever, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Keep these threats in mind this holiday season, and never leave food unattended in a location where curious noses may discover it.
If you want to give your pet a special holiday treat, we recommend sticking to dog and cat treats or safe human foods such as green beans, carrots, and cooked lean meats. Every pet is different and has different nutritional restrictions, so if you have any questions simply contact your veterinarian.
Many decorative holiday plants also pose a threat to our pets. For example, holly, mistletoe, and lilies are all toxic if ingested and should therefore be kept well out of reach of pets. Poinsettias are often portrayed as being extremely dangerous, however this is not the case. Nevertheless, it will cause an upset stomach if ingested in a significant quantity.
This list of potential threats is certainly not all-inclusive. However, we hope it helps you to make this holiday season a little safer for your pets. All of us at Waynedale Animal Clinic wish you and your family (two and four-legged alike) a safe and blessed holiday season.
Waynedale Animal Clinic
6221 Bluffton Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46809
Dr. Hugh S. Glidewell
Dr. Andrew W. Riebe
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