Make the Holidays Happy for Your Pets!

Well, despite the fact that the snow has yet to fly, we are well into the holiday season with Christmas just a few weeks away! The time has come for festive lights, good food, decorations and holiday cheer. There will be lots of shopping, presents, family visits and much much more! As we go about our merry way, as always, it is important that we keep our four legged family members’ safety a top priority. With all the new things being introduced to their environment, it is no wonder that veterinarians see an increase in sick pets this time of year. All that food, candy, presents, plants, ect. can be tough to resist for a lot of pets. So, check out our list below of potentially hazardous situations that you should be aware of to keep your pet safe this holiday season.

~ Holiday lights and candles

We all know how beautiful the house and tree look all lit up. However, for many animals, those twinkling and often dangly lights present a temptation pets cannot resist. They bat, pull and chew at the lighted strands, often resulting in electrical burns to the mouth or even death from electrocution.

If you decide to light candles for the holiday season, keep them high and in places where your dog and especially your kitty (who likes to defy gravity and get to places unseen) cannot reach. Not only can your pets get seriously burned from the flame or wax, they can also knock candles over creating a potential fire hazard for your home.

~ Tinsel and other decorations

Although it is not toxic, tinsel can cause serious harm and even death if consumed by your pets. Cats in particular are attracted to the shiny stuff that glitters and flutters as though alive. Once ingested, the tinsel can twist and bunch up causing intestinal blockages.

Also highly tempting to your pets are the bright, shiny and colorful bulbs that you hang on the tree. Both dogs and cats have been known to consume tree ornaments. Many of these can shatter, causing lacerations to the mouth, esophagus or stomach. They also can be potential choking hazards.

~ Presents

We all love giving presents to our family and our pets are certainly not an exception to this rule! However, be aware that if you wrap up a nice smelly bone or catnip, that wrapping paper is not going to completely mask the smell. Many cats and dogs, if left alone with scrumptious smelling gifts, will take it upon themselves to break into their presents stash (or others) and not wait for Christmas morning! This can be bad if they ingest the paper, cardboard or plastic wrapping that often are on these items. So, it is wise to wait to put those gift under the tree until that last minute and keep the room blocked if possible.

~ Holiday plants

Though they are beautiful and certainly add to the festive holiday mood, certain plants are highly poisonous and should be avoided or kept out of reach if you have pets. If ingested these plants may cause issues:

Pine needles – Pine needles can cause irritation to the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy.

Poinsettias – Poinsettias can cause mouth irritation and vomiting.

Holly – Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea and depression in your pet.

Mistletoe – Mistletoe can cause respiratory distress, erratic behavior, vomiting, diarrhea or even death.

~ Food

Finally, it is definitely the season for rich, delectable food. For many pets and people alike, the temptation can be great! But before you drop those scraps to your faithful friend, please remember that many foods can cause gastrointestinal issues at best or even death in the worst cases.

Chocolate  – One of the worst offenders, chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats alike, although worse for dogs.

Stuffing – The stuffing may contain nuts and herbs that can be potentially dangerous to your pets. Cats are sensitive to essential oils and sage. Many nuts, such as macadamia, walnuts, almonds and others can cause stomach irritation, lethargy, vomiting and                 diarrhea.

Fatty foods – Foods high in fat content, such as turkey skin and desserts can cause severe gastrointestinal issues and even                   pancreatitis.

Bones – Many people feel that it is natural to give dogs and cats bones. However, they can cause very serious health issues with your pets and should be avoided. Bones can easily lodge in the esophagus, stomach or intestines.  They can also splinter causing infection, blockages and even death if not treated.

Most of our pets will sail through this holiday season happy and healthy with your help! As much as we love seeing you and yours at OAH, let’s not have it be in an emergency situation. By being aware of the potential dangers your pets may encounter, you can make a very happy home this holiday season!

By on December 2nd, 2017 in Pet Care