Holiday Hazards

The upcoming holiday season should be a joyous time for the whole family Unfortunately, all too often, these good times are spoiled when the family pet becomes injured or sick from one of the following holiday hazards:

  • Dogs and cats may get into the holiday garbage and develop intestinal distress from the bones and fat of the turkey leftovers they consume. Severe vomiting and diarrhea are often the result.
  • Christmas tree ornaments and decorations are frequently a source of pet injury. Decorative glass bulbs tinsel, ornamental plants, and strings of decorative lights can cause damage to a pet’s mouth and intestinal tract.
  • It is not uncommon for cats to consume string and ribbon used to wrap presents. Swallowing such items can result in intestinal damage that may necessitate surgical removal of the offending material.
  • Christmas trees should be carefully supported to prevent cats that like to climb trees, from pulling them over. Bells tied to the lower branches can act as an early warning alarm system.
  • Dark bittersweet chocolate is a favorite of dogs. Unfortunately, when large amounts are consumed the chocolate becomes a poison.
  • Candles are always a nice touch as table decorations or religious symbols. Unfortunately, when left unattended, these flickering lights can be easily pushed over by the family pet and either burn the pet or start a fire.

Christmas trees present a major danger to pets. The foil icicle tree decorations are very attractive to cats and can be extremely dangerous if swallowed. Each winter cats try to climb Christmas trees and often tip them over injuring themselves and anyone else that might be close by. So, if you have a cat you would do well to make sure that the base is well secured and heavily weighted. Bells, strategically placed along the lower branches of the tree can act as a burglar alarm to warn cat owners that their pet is getting overly curious. Poinsettas are poisonous plants which too often are eaten by cats. Keep these plants high up where pets can’t get to them. Dogs are occasionally attracted by the shiny glass ball decorations hung on trees. They think they are solid balls they can mouth, but sadly find out to late that they shatter when bitten. The skin of the chicken or turkey should not be fed to your dog or cat because it is likely to ?esult in a gastritis or pancreatitis in those animals proneto the condition. Of course, it goes without saying thatchicken and turkeybones should not be fed to dogs or cats.When chewed on these bones splinter easily and can obstruct or perforate the animals intestinal tract. Therefore, keep your garbage well secured behind latched doors or in garbage cans. Because boxes of chocolate are plentiful this time of the year, chocolate poisoning becomes much more likely. Consuming an occassional piece is probably not a problem but eating a whole box is much more serious. Electrical light cords are another danger for dogs, cats and birds. The decorative chains of lights strung all over the tree are particularly dangerous to birds which fly on to the tree and attempt to peck at everything insight. Serious mouth burns and even death can result from chewing on these electrical wires.

Take the above precautions seriously so that everyone will have a wonderful, safe and healthy, holiday season.

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