The Holidays and Your Pet

The Holidays and Your Pet

With the holidays fast approaching we are all anticipating the wonderful sights, sounds and foods of the season. Our pets however experience a unique set of circumstances that can put them at risk for needing medical care. It is our intention to help you and your pet enjoy this holiday season with the following useful tips.

FOOD: We all enjoy the holiday treats and the special feelings they create. We also love sharing with our pets so they feel special too! Your pet cannot tolerate the foods that we can, just as our bodies would not tolerate eating pet foods. Allowing your pet to have our holiday foods may cause them to have a mild stomach irritation that can lead to a severe condition known as pancreatitis which often requires hospitalization and can be fatal. Things such as fruit, nuts, wrappers and aluminum foil can cause a blockage in the stomach or intestinal track that could require surgical removal. Bakers beware because uncooked dough when ingested can expand and produce gas in your pets stomach. This condition is very painful and can lead to bloat and a possible rupture of the digestive system.

ALCOHOL: Alcoholic beverages can be toxic or even fatal to your pet. If ingested your pet can become weak, comatose and die. Make sure all cups containing alcohol are kept out of reach of your pets and cleaned up quickly after entertaining.

DECORATIONS: Who can resist the beautiful colors and sparkle of holiday decorations? We all do, including our pets. We cannot explain the hazards of electrical cords, ribbon or twinkling lights to our pets. Therefore we must make sure that we decorate with them in mind so they do not choke or get electrocuted during the holiday season. The Christmas Tree decorations pose many hazards, such as pine needles, garland, tinsel, angel hair, ornaments, candy or flocking. All of these things can be dangerous for your pet. They can cause a gastrointestinal obstruction or toxic exposure depending on the product used. A few suggestions to help keep your pet safe, secure your tree to a ceiling or wall, put a play yard around your tree, do not put lights or ornaments on the bottom of the tree, do not decorate with popcorn or candy, do not have your tree flocked or use tinsel.

PLANTS: Although they add a warm touch many plants can harm your pets. Keep those potentially dangerous bloomers well out of reach. The following is a list of commonly used plants for the holidays, Lillies when ingested can cause fatal kidney problems for cats, Poinsettias although not as toxic as some would think, can cause gastric upset leading to colitis or pancreatitis, Mistletoe, especially the berries, is highly toxic causing gastric upset and possibly fatal heart problems, Holly and Amaryllis can cause gastric distress requiring medical care. If you are concerned about a plant not noted here please contact Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.

STRESS: Holidays can stress the best of planners and their pets too! When routines are disrupted your pet will most likely be the first to notice. Giving your pet a safe quiet place to escape where they can comfortably get away from the energy and excitement will help them to deal with the changes. Holiday guests can unknowingly cause your pets harm by feeding them or allowing them to escape through open doors. It is recommended that you feed and walk your pet before guests arrive and have them in their safe zone during their stay. Make sure any time spent with guests is supervised to assure safety. Having your pet micro chipped will assure a safe return in the event of an escape.