Gallagher & Associates Team

Gallagher & Associates Team

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Pet Safety

As the holiday season draws near it is important to keep a more vigilant eye on our pets. Unfortunately, holiday decorations and common holiday foods pose great risks to our pets.

One of the most commonly ingested dangerous food around the holidays is chocolate, which is highly toxic to dogs. Even a small amount of chocolate can use vomiting and diarrhea, while larger amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias. It might be wise to not place any boxes of chocolate under the Christmas tree, even if the box is wrapped. Dogs can easily find a way to get to the chocolate.

Another commonly ingested item by pets, believe it or not, is alcohol. Please watch your drinks as alcohol can cause seizures, drops in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature, and even respiratory failure.

Grapes and raisins may seem innocuous, but these are very dangerous to dogs as they may cause kidney failure. Take care not to give any food that contains either raisins or grapes to your pets.

With the holiday season comes excess food. Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, which sometimes leads to abdominal pain and vomiting, and in severe circumstances, can result in death. Instead of giving fatty leftovers to your pets, it is best to safely discard them in a place where your pets can get to them.

Now as far as plants go, there are plenty of frequently purchased plants that are extremely harmful to your pets. Poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly berries are all toxic to varying degrees. Flowers in the Lily family can cause severe kidney failure in cats.

Lastly, Christmas trees may pose a wide array of problems for pets. First of all, Christmas trees themselves are considered to be mildly toxic, which can lead to many health problems if your pet tries to eat any part of it. The ingestion of pine needles may lead to gastrointestinal obstruction or puncture. If you have a live tree, please take notice that if you add preservatives in the water for your tree, some of these preservatives contain chemicals that can cause gastrointestinal problems.

In addition, Christmas ornaments can be problematic as many pets will try to eat some of them, especially sparkly tinsel. Ingestion of these ornaments may lead to gastrointestinal blockage or rupture. Finally, Christmas lights can be a major hazard to pets, especially birds since they like to chew on everything. Chewing on the light cords can, of course, cause electric shocks and burns to your pets.

With all of these potential hazards during the holidays, it is best to keep your pet in an "undecorated" area of the house when you are not home so you do not have to face any unpleasant surprises when you come home.

If your pet manages to eat anything that it should not, please seek immediate help from your veterinarian or a pet poison hotline.

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