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Holiday Safety Tips For Our Pets

28th Sep 2015

Once Halloween arrives, it seems like Thanksgiving is tomorrow and Christmas is next week, it all happens so fast. In a previous post, we discussed “5 Ways To Keep Your Pet Safe on Halloween,” and the upcoming holidays can also present a number of perils for our pets.

Thanksgiving and the season of giving bring many temptations that aren’t safe for our pets, like cooked turkey bones that can splinter and wreak havoc on an animal’s oral health and digestive system. Raw and undercooked turkey also contain harmful and infectious bacteria that are gastric nightmares for unsuspecting pets.

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However, cooked turkey with all the bones removed, given in small quantities, can be a healthy food for most animals. Beware of poultry fat which can cause life-threatening pancreatitis in some pets. Here are more holiday favorites that should be kept away from our four-legged friends:

  • Alcohol: You’d think that Fluffy and Fido would steer clear of alcoholic beverages, but some cocktails can be very enticing, like Hot-Buttered-Rum and alcohol laced Eggnog.
  • Chocolate: Most dog owners already know that chocolate, especially dark cocoa and unsweetened baking chocolate, is very dangerous for canines.
  • Garbage: Keep refuse, especially food waste, away from animals as it can become rancid and host to a vast number of potentially harmful or deadly bacteria.
  • Nuts and Snacks: Macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins can be poisonous to dogs and some cats, causing damage to their kidneys, digestive, muscular and nervous systems.
  • Raw dough: Cake batter, cookie dough and other uncooked mixtures can rise in an animal’s warm stomach and intestines and cause bloating, vomiting and abdominal pain, which could become life-threatening.
  • Salt, spices, grease and fat: Holiday foods are full of these festive ingredients, while tasty for humans, they are all unhealthy for our four-legged friends.

Flora and Fauna

What’s Christmas without a tree, but this “gay green dress,” along with other holiday greenery, can be potentially dangerous for animals. They should not be allowed to drink water from the tree stand since it can contain sap, infectious bacteria, preservatives, insecticides, fertilizers and flame retardants.

Other holiday plants like holly leaves, berries, hibiscus, amaryllis, Christmas cactus, rosemary, lilies, poinsettias and mistletoe can all have the potential of being poisonous and can cause gastrointestinal discomfort if consumed by our critters. Here is a complete list of safe and harmful plants posted by the ASPCA.

Wreck The Halls

Christmas and other holiday decorations can be like travelling through a minefield for our pets, a tug on a table runner or lit candle knocked to the floor can cause serious injury or even death. Tinsel and ribbon can be irresistible to cats and even some dogs and if consumed, can wrap around the base of their tongue, cause choking, vomiting, dehydration and intestinal obstruction. Other decorations that can be hazardous include:

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  • Electrical Cords, Batteries and Lights: All of these pose a risk of electrocution, burns, shock, and mouth sores if exposed, played with or chewed on.
  • Food Decor: Candy canes, gingerbread men (and women), popcorn, dried fruit and potpourri are all unhealthy for our animals.
  • Ornaments: Both cats and dogs alike may swat at dangling ornaments and if broken, shards of glass can become lodged in their throat or digestive systems. The same is true for the hangers used to place them onto the tree.
  • Snow Flocking: If inhaled, it can cause respiratory distress in animals and humans.
  • Snow Globes: The liquid in these little beauties along with other fluid filled decorations can contain toxins and poisons.

In closing, remember that our pets should always have a safe place to stay during holiday parties, events and dinners when we can’t keep an eye on them. Whether they are outside, in the garage or spare room, they’re likely more safe being kept away from these types of celebrations. Happy Holidays!

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