Christmas is coming and with it, dangers to our pets. Be ready this year to have a wonderful holiday free of emergency trips to the veterinarian. Try to maintain your pets’ schedule as close to normal as possible. Employ visitors to entertain your pets with gentle petting or ‘fetch’ games while you finish last minute chores before the party begins. Also, have a safe, quiet place for your cat or dog to go to if the party gets too wild.
Here are some of the things to avoid this holiday season:
- Holiday decorations: Mistletoe and Holly are mildly toxic and can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Lilies are very toxic to cats – do not allow cats access to these. Tinsel is very enticing to cats but can obstruct the digestive tract if eaten, leading to a costly surgery. Lighted candles should only be burned when you are in the room. Watch out for batteries and wires too. If you have a climber, anchor your Christmas tree to avoid it crashing down on your pet. The tree water can harbor bacteria, which can upset the stomach.
- Holiday foods: Nuts, especially Macadamia nuts, contain large amounts of oils which can lead to pancreatitis (any fatty food will also cause pancreatitis). Grapes and raisins contain an unknown toxins, which can cause rapid kidney failure. Chocolate, the darker the more toxic, may cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and even seizures. For a complete list of dangerous foods check out the ASPCA website.
- Xylitol: This is becoming a very popular sweetener. Not only is it in chewing gum, but now it is being added to candies, desserts, vitamins, and peanut butter. Xylitol causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, along with liver damage. Even a very small amount can cause harm; check labels closely.
- Ice melts: urea-based ice melts are thought to be the safest for use around pets but can still cause salivation and gastrointestinal irritation. The sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and calcium salts if ingested (if the dog or cat licks its paws) will typically cause vomiting and diarrhea. Skin irritation is also possible. If any of the ice melts are consumed in large quantities, life threatening electrolyte imbalances can occur.
Have a safe and happy holiday season. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call our office.
Dr. Sara Nosbush
River Hills Pet Care Hospital