Holidays are a wonderful time for seeing friends and family. Here are some tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association to help keep your furry family members safe and healthy during this holiday season.
Avoid feeding dogs and cats table scraps. During meals, don’t let your dog sit under the table where children may drop or slip them food. Gravy, meat fat, and poultry skin can cause life-threatening conditions like pancreatitis and gastrointestinal problems. Bones can splinter and create bowel obstructions.
Keep holiday decorations away from pets as they often consume them. For example, cats sometimes eat tinsel, which can cause an intestinal blockage serious enough to require surgery.
Don’t let your pets climb the Christmas tree. If the tree falls over, it could injure your pet. Consider tying the tree to the ceiling or a doorframe securing it with fishing line.
Keep chocolate away from pets. While it is a holiday staple for many people, chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is to pets.
Be wary of baked goods and sweets around pets. Often they are too rich for pets. In addition, xylitol, an artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, candy, and chewing gum, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.
Flowers, table centerpieces, fireplace adornments, and other festive plants are another common holiday trimming that can result in an emergency veterinary visit. Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar and holly are on the dangerous holiday plant list. If consumed they can be poisonous to pets. Poinsettias can be troublesome as well.
Unplug holiday decorations when you are not around. Cats and dogs are sometimes tempted to chew electrical cords. This could lead to pet injuries or even a fire.
When company comes calling, remember your pets may not be so welcoming. If your pets prefer solitude, put them in a safe, quiet place away from the festivities.
The holidays are a wonderful time of year to enjoy family and friends, which includes your four-legged family members. Keep everyone safe and healthy this holiday season.
by Elisabeth Giedt, DVM
Veterinary Viewpoints is provided by the faculty of the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital. Certified by the American Animal Hospital Association, the hospital is open to the public providing routine and specialized care for all species and 24-hour emergency care, 365 days a year.