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Holiday Hazards

Nov 27, 2016 01:07PM ● By Louisa Asseo

As the year comes to a close and we think ahead to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, please keep these tips in mind to keep your furry friends safe during the season.

1.Tinsel and Ribbon.  These items are incredibly intriguing as toys – especially for cats.  However, if they are ingested, they can cause serious intestinal obstructions that usually require surgery to correct.

2. Poinsettia.  While they look great around your house during the holidays, these festive plants are mildly toxic to your pets and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if your pet eats them. 

3. Mistletoe.  While mistletoe is great for inspiring loved ones to show their affection, it contains toxalbumin and pharatoxins, which if ingested by your pet can cause gastrointestinal irritation, including drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. So, please keep your mistletoe up high, where it can do its holiday duty for you and your loved ones while remaining out of your pet’s reach.

4. Chocolate.  Chocolate is delicious, and your dogs think so too! Unfortunately, cacao, from which chocolate is made, contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to your furry family members. Also, be sure to keep those candy bowls on high tables or counters, where your dogs can’t help themselves. If you suspect your dog may have gotten into chocolate (severe symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures), contact your veterinarian immediately.

5. Secure your Tree.  What cat can resist climbing that fancy new cat tree you got for them, especially when it’s covered in tinsel and other shiny toys (otherwise known as ornaments)?  Even when installed in a holder, Christmas trees can still be somewhat unstable and easily toppled. Make sure your tree is properly and fully secured in its stand to minimize the chance of tipping over.

6. Lighting on low branches. Remember that scene from Christmas Vacation? Seriously, dogs and cats like to chew on things, especially things that have the smell and taste of a fresh Christmas tree. While LED Christmas tree lights are definitely safer and use less power than older types of lighting, they still require electricity and are not impervious to your pet’s teeth. If your pet likes to chew on things (or if you’re uncertain), keep those light strings out of the lower branches, so they don’t become a temptation.

7. Holiday Meals.  As tempting as it may be (especially when they’re giving you that “look” from under the table), avoid sharing your holiday meals with your dogs. While not specifically toxic, many holiday foods can pose other dangers. Turkey bones are brittle and easily splintered, resulting in tiny, sharp fragments that can scrape, cut, or perforate your pet’s gastrointestinal tract on its way through. For those that prefer prime rib over turkey, it may be tempting to give those bones to your dog to chew on. However, those bones, especially cooked, are very hard, and can result in broken teeth.

It has been a pleasure being part of your lives this year, and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year!

From all your friends at Oasis Veterinary Hospital, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.