The holidays can be a happy or tragic time for your pets. It’s up to you. Here are some safety tips to keep their and your holidays happy:
- Mistletoe, Holly Berries, Christmas Rose and Christmas Lily plants are poisonous to pets. Poinsettia is still questionable so play it safe!
- Edible decorations can cause diarrhea, gastritis, vomitting. Keep them out of sight!
- Commercial food strings may contain paint or toxic preservatives, poisonous to pets.
- Alcohol is toxic for pets, even in small amounts. Eggnog, Hot Toddies, Tom & Jerrys and other holiday drinks can be tastey and deadly to pets.
- Chocolate can cause diarrhea, vomitting and fatal heart arrhythmias. Be careful of wrapped gifts that you may not be aware contain chocolate.
- Turkey bones can splinter your pet’s digestive system. Hundreds of dogs die annually when owners unwittingly give them the carcass. Save it for soup!
- Turkey skin and fat as well as ham skin and bones often cause gastritis, diarrhea, life threatening obstructions or pancreatitis. Sick pups can be grumpy and grumpy pups often bite! Keep stuffed Kong toys and other toys available.
- Small rawhide sticks and rawhide toys that unravel can cause obstructions in the throat and blockages in the intestine and can be fatal.
- Antifreeze contains Ethylene glycol which causes irreversible kidney damage, even death, when ingested in even small amounts. Unfortunately antifreeze is sweet to taste and found in puddles in driveways, parking areas and gutters. Both cats and dogs walk through it and lick it off their paws. Clean up all spills immediately. Purchase only products that are marked “pet safe” that do not contain ethylene glychol. Do not walk your pets in gutters or through puddles when crossing streets and driveways.
- Tinsel may obstruct circulation and block your cat’s or dog’s intestines.
- Some wrapping papers are printed with inks that contain lead, poisonous to pets.
- Needles , of both real and artificial trees, are sharp and indigestible. Can cause gastritis, obstructions.
- Tree lights become hot. Lights on lower limbs are inviting, especially to puppies and kittens.
- Electric cords are equally inviting and a chewed through cord may shock or electrocute your pet.
- Glass ornaments break easily. Sharp chards may cut your pet’s feet or mouth. Keep your kitties out of the decorated areas. Give them a high perch of their own.
- Candles attract dogs, especially puppies, and can be a hazard both from ingestion and fire. Tails and long hair can catch fire and result in a disaster.
- Pet’s toys can be dangerous. Be sure that the “ squeaker ” on squeak toys is part of the rubber mold, not plastic or metal. These can be ingested and/or aspirated into the lungs causing grave consequences. The plastic squeakers do not show up on x-ray or sonogram.
- Cold, wet weather can be deadly to your dog, especially puppies. Limit the time they are out of doors and be sure to dry them off when they come into the house. A warm sweater or jacket will keep your dog healthy and happy. Introduce it gradually with play and treats and make it fun for him or her to wear. When the temperature drops below 30 degrees your dog may experience frostbite. Provide your dogs with booties when you take them to the snow.
Stay alert. Keep these items out of reach of your pets. Sit or lie down on the floor of each room and look up and around the room asking yourself what would interest you if you were a bored, confused or excited dog, cat, bunny or bird. Remember that it’s not just dogs who get into trouble. Watch your “kids” closely. Don’t let them surprise you with something you never dreamed they’d get into. The holiday season can be a very stressful time for pets. Try to keep as normal a daily schedule as possible. Remind every family member and guest to check that doors and gates are closed carefully. Frightened and confused pets can wander away from home. A stay at the Animal Shelter is often not pleasant and there’s no place like home for your pets especially during the holidays. Consider a Microchip for your pet for his/her holiday gift. And, if your pet receives a new collar for Christmas or Channukah, transfer his or her license and ID tag to the new collar immediately. Most pets are returned by persons who read the dog’s I.D. tag.
The ASPCA ANIMAL POISON CONTROL CENTER = 1-888-426-4435 ext 1
The PROSAR INTERNATIONAL ANIMAL POISON CENTER = 1-888-232-8870
There is a $45 fee for their telephone consultation. They do take credit cards.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!