Holiday Dangers to Pets

Soon the holidays will be arriving. Along with the celebrations, delicious meals, and splendid decorations, there are inherent dangers to our pets in some of these things. For example, the rich foods that we so enjoy may cause gastrointestinal problems to our dogs and cats. Table scraps from Thanksgiving dinner may be too greasy for some or may contain turkey bones that could puncture an intestine. Best to avoid those pleading eyes, and provide safe treats instead.
At times our furry friends can be sneaky. I remember when one of my dogs saw a glass of rum punch sitting on a table. While I was out of the room, she decided to do a taste-test. Of course she loved it and kept sipping. She was a dog who suffered from pancreatitis. Needless to say, she experienced a bout from this experience.
Often we decorate our homes with lovely holiday plants. Some of these can be very toxic to dogs and cats. Poinsettias are frequently used as such an example, but in reality, it is their sap that is mildly toxic, not the flowers or leaves. On the other hand, mistletoe and holly can cause mild to severe issues if ingested. The holiday kits of amaryllis, daffodils, and members of the lily family are especially toxic to cats, with daffodils being bad for both dogs and cats. Even our Christmas trees can be a problem, not to mention tinsel and broken ornaments that may be attractive to pets.
For those who live up north with ice and snow, there are additional problems. The salt that is used to melt the ice and snow can be hurtful to paws, so best to check and clean paws after a walk on treated walkways. It is possible to purchase salt which is pet friendly. Another item that attracts pets is antifreeze that may have dripped out of car engines. This is very dangerous if consumed.
This is also the time of year in cold climates that people put out poison to get rid of mice. This is attractive to pets and can be fatal if ingested. I know of a size-able lab who got into this poison in his owner’s garage. Despite getting him to the vet, he did not survive. Such poison should best be secured in a metal box and placed safely out of reach.
This all sounds scary, but as responsible pet owners, we can avoid most of these dangers by being aware of the dangers and monitoring our pets.

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