FEATURE — The holiday season is a festive time for us and our pets. However, potential dangers to our four-legged family members can easily be overlooked in the flurry of activities and constant distractions. Being aware of these dangers and taking preventive measures will allow you to enjoy the holiday ho-ho-ho without an uh-oh and a trip to the veterinary clinic.
Twinkly lights, dangling decorations, towering trees and glistening tinsel can all be quite appealing to our watchful critters. Our pets may be tempted to chew into easily accessible electrical cords, risking electrocution. Decorations such as ornaments and tinsel can potentially become lodged in the intestinal tract or get caught and cause the intestines to bunch up, leading to emergency surgery or even death. Tuck extension cords away, keep ornaments and decorations out of reach, avoid using tinsel and properly secure trees to prevent toppling.
Unfortunately, some of the most popular holiday goodies can be extremely toxic to pets. Chocolate contains varying levels of caffeine and methylxanthines that, depending on the type and amount ingested, may cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, heart arrhythmias, tremors and seizures. Fat trimmings from meat may cause pancreatitis. Bones can be a choking hazard and can splinter and cause an obstruction or lacerations to your dog’s digestive system. Certain nuts should not be given to pets. Almonds, walnuts and pistachios can cause an upset stomach or obstruct the throat or intestinal tract. Macadamia nuts and moldy walnuts can lead to seizures or neurological signs. Keep your pets on their regular diet and advise visitors against giving your pet special treats or table scraps.
Toxic holiday plants
Though pretty, many holiday plants are poisonous – even deadly. As little as a single leaf from lily varieties commonly found in flower arrangements can be lethal to cats. Other plants to avoid include pine needles, holly, mistletoe and poinsettias. Taking precautions with pets during these jolly times can help ensure that you and your family will enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season!
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Written by Heather Boyter for St. George Health & Wellness magazine and St. George News.
Heather Boyter received her BS degree in Biology with a Zoology Emphasis with a minor in Chemistry from Southern Utah University in 2008, and her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Mississippi State University, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2012.
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