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The holiday season is always a wonderful time of the year. During the holiday seasons our beloved pets may be exposed to hazards less commonly found other times of the year. Our pets may be intrigued by the new sites, smells and tastes around the house. Below is a list of hazards to watch for during this holiday season.
We all get excited during the holiday season, especially when it comes to our decorations. They not only appeal to our eyes, but also our pets as well. Although many are not toxic, they can cause significant problems when ingested. Lights and ornaments can break or splinter which can cause irritation, perforation or blockage. Tinsel is also well loved by our pets, often consuming entire lengths of it in one go! These can bunch up causing blockages or can lead to linear foreign bodies. Electrical cords are also a concern for the inquisitive pet who may think it is fun to chew on them.
Christmas trees and Holiday Plants (Holly, Mistletoe & Poinsettia)
Although beautiful to look at these festive plants are mildly toxic when ingested and can cause drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. They should be kept well out of reach but preferably avoided completely.
Many species are mildly toxic causing gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and/or diarrhea) if chewed/ingested. The pine needles can get stuck in paws and cause irritation. If ingested they may cause irritation or perforation of the intestinal tract. It is a good idea to keep plenty of water in the bucket to reduce the number of fallen needles and vacuum around the tree daily.
There are many foods that are toxic to our pets and all table scrapes/human food should be avoided. Below are a few examples: Chocolate, onions, nuts, blue cheese, fruit cakes, puddings and mince pies. Do not feed any turkey bones as they can cause choking, constipation or other damage to their intestinal tract.
Presents around the house, especially placed on the floor can pose a huge risk for our pets. Our cats love the ribbon and bows which can cause similar issues as tinsel. Just because they have been wrapped does not mean that our pets cannot smell what tasty treats may lay inside. If the present contained chocolate this could lead to toxicity. Please make sure that any tasty or tempting presents are placed out of harm’s way.
Even with your best efforts your animals may get into trouble. You should keep our number, the local emergency clinic and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in a convenient location.
Dr. Jory Bocknek
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