Holiday hazards


Abundant food items during holiday can be detrimental to pets

By Dr. Bret A. Miller | Page Animal Hospital
Special to the Chronicle

Greetings Page community and surrounding areas from your friendly neighborhood veterinarian! As we jump into the holiday season, please be cautious with what you expose your pets to so we can all safely enjoy this wonderful time of year!

There are abundant food items that come out during the holidays that can be detrimental to your pets.  All fatty foods, to include turkey, turkey skin, ham, ham bones etc., even in small amounts can cause severe pancreatitis which can even be life-threatening. Chicken and turkey bones are more brittle and can cause problems passing through the gastrointestinal tract. Even milder signs like vomiting and diarrhea makes for messy holiday clean up with minimal holiday cheer.  Many of us love to enjoy all the chocolates that come throughout the season, but for our dogs and cats this can be quite toxic. A couple rules of thumb are the darker the chocolate the more toxic and the smaller the pet the more susceptible they are to the toxic effects. Many other sweets and baked goods can also be dangerous for pets. A natural sugar-replacement sweetener found in these items and chewing gum called "xylitol" can cause low blood sugar and if your pet ingests a high enough dose, liver failure. Some unsuspected foods that can also be dangerous to pets include garlic, onions, grapes and raisins.

Holiday decorations can also pose a threat to pets. Ensure your Christmas tree is well secured to avoid tipping over due to the curious climbing cat. If pets are in the house avoid water additives for the Christmas tree as many can be hazardous to them. Take care with ornaments, tinsel, and other decorations as these, if ingested, can cause intestinal blockage or toxicity. These may even require surgical removal. Of course, any breakable decorations can cause injuries.  Electric lights may result in a shocking experience for those pets that love to chew. Joking aside, this can cause severe burns of the mouth. Common holiday plants can be dangerous and poisonous to pets which include amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, holly and poinsettias. The ASPCA (poison control center) offers lists of toxic plants for dogs and cats. Candles and pets may be a fire hazard. Also, potpourris, in all its forms, can cause injury and may severely damage your pet’s mouth, eyes and skin. 

Visitors and holiday parties can cause emotional stress to pets.  Ensure your pet has an outlet to get away from the commotion.  They may need a safe haven that’s comfortable and quite if they choose to remove themselves from all the action.  Stressed pets can cause injury to themselves or others and are more prone to bolt when the door is opened.  Whether you think your pet is a flight risk or not, ensuring they are appropriately identified or micro-chipped gives your family the best chance to be reunited. 

So, I’m sure I’ve scared everyone that owns a pet.  Don’t hold back when celebrating this year, but please be safe and mindful of the potential holiday hazards that may pose a threat to your pet so you can avoid the vet. Take out the trash, especially if it contains food, and unplug decorations when you’re not around.

In an emergency, if you believe your pet has been poisoned or ingested something it shouldn’t have, please call our emergency call center at 1-888-482-4393 and they will get in contact with the veterinarian on-call – me.  If I happen to be unavailable, the call center will provide you with contact information to the nearest 24/7 emergency veterinary facility which would be in Flagstaff.  You may also want to call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 1-888-426-4435.

If you have any questions regarding your pets health and safety, please don’t hesitate to call us at the Page Animal Hospital, 928-645-2816.

Kind regards,
Bret the Vet

Advertisement


Video News
More In Home