It’s that time of year again when we’re either decorating Christmas trees, lighting the Menorah, or both in our case! Either way the holiday season entails gifts, parties, and food. And often we don’t pay enough attention to what our pets are getting up to in the midst of our merrymaking.
This is probably why it’s a common time of year for holiday related emergencies to the vet clinic. There’re numerous holiday pet hazards to be aware of, but here are a few essential ones:
1) Holiday plants like holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are poisonous if ingested and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even heart arrhythmias.
2) Tinsel, string, and ribbons can be choking hazards or get wrapped around appendages. If ingested they can even cause blockages of the intestines which potentially requires X-rays and emergency surgery.
3) Lights, wires, and candles. A curious cat and an open flame usually ends badly for the cat. But all the extra wires and decorative lights pose a risk if Fluffy decides to gnaw on them. I’ve seen electrical burns to the mouth and even electrocutions due to wire-chewing. So put wires and lights out of harms way, and unplug them at night or when you leave the house.
4) Holiday foods like chocolate, nuts, fruitcake, xylitol or sugar substituted sweets, and bones all pose a health risk if eaten. The ingestion of chocolate, nuts, dried fruits and xylitol are poisonous and often require immediate veterinary attention. Bones get lodged in the stomach or intestines and can even perforate through the bowel, again potentially requiring emergency surgery.
5) Alcohol is sometimes left out by guests; often on the floor or within reach of a curious four-legged beast. And since we mask the pungent alcohol taste with sugary drinks, our holiday cocktails appeal to dogs and cats. Yes, I’ve had a number of drunk canines brought into me that had to stay overnight in the hospital on an IV drip to sober up!
And let me tell you, nothing puts a damper on holiday cheer like a frantic scramble to the emergency vet in the middle of the night with a dog vomiting all over your car. So be safe this season and set aside a little extra time to spend with your furry friends too.
Happy holidays everyone!