Holiday time presents some situations which can be hazardous to your pet’s health. A little planning and taking extra precautions will keep the holidays a happy time for everyone.
Holiday food favorites can be dangerous for dogs. Fats, gravies and poultry skin can lead to gastrointestinal upset or worse pancreatitis. This inflammatory condition of the pancreas often requires hospitalized care and can be fatal.
Chocolate poisoning is a common problem with early symptoms being anxiety, agitation or vomiting. The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is. Don’t keep wrapped boxes of chocolate under the tree – they will be opened by your dog.
If you have to share food, give canned pumpkin or raw or cooked sweet potato, carrots or green beans without added oils. Be careful with peanut butter as it is high in fat and some peanut butters now have a natural sweetener called Xylitol added. Xylitol causes a dog’s blood sugar to become so low that it can be deadly. Only 2 ounces of Xylitol containing peanut spread can be toxic for a 25 pound dog. Xylitol is also used in sugar-free gum, baked goods and candies often labeled as “sweetened naturally” or “naturally sweetened.”
It doesn’t take much for a climbing cat or excited dog to knock the Christmas tree over, so make sure it is secured. A tight fitting tree skirt can prevent drinking the tree’s water. Double-sided cellophane tape or citronella spray at the tree base will discourage cats from climbing. Be careful with holiday lights as they are usually not insulated well and so are easily chewed through. Burn marks at the lips or tongue or respiratory distress are signs of electrocution. Tinsel and curling ribbon should be avoided completely especially with cats.
Poinsettia, holly and mistletoe when chewed on, can cause drooling and an upset stomach but fortunately are not deadly.
Lastly, one that you may be unfamiliar with is snow globes. They can contain ethylene glycol (antifreeze). If you drop and break one, the liquid could be quickly licked up because it tastes sweet. Ethylene glycol ingestion can cause kidney failure. Proceed immediately to your veterinarian if this occurs.If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to a “holiday hazard” call your local veterinarian immediately. Early treatment can prevent a serious or fatal condition.