The Holidays are all about family and friends, they should not be about spending Christmas in the animal emergency room because Fido ate a plate of brownies or Fluffy chewed on an electrical cord. Here are a couple common holiday hazards found in most homes this time of year and how to keep your furry friend out of the veterinarian’s office.
Chocolate. What is so bad about chocolate? We have all been told it’s dangerous for our pets but why? There are two things in chocolate that concerns us when it comes to our pets. The first is caffeine and the second, theobromine. Both of these chemicals are Methylxanines. Methylxanines can cause increased blood pressure, cardiovascular stimulation, and central nervous system (CNS) stimulation, not to mention nausea and vomiting. In a pet that has a compromised cardiovascular system; chocolate can cause cardiac arrest and/or death. Regardless of your pet’s age or health seek medical attention immediately if your pet should try some of your holiday treats. Prevention is the best policy. Keep chocolate in sealed containers and up high or in a cabinet.
Christmas Trees. Live or artificial trees pose a hazard to both cats and dogs. Eye trauma is commonly seen in our bug-eyed pets like pugs and persians. Pets like to investigate the new addition to the living room and attempt to get under the tree not realizing there are sharp needles. If you get a live tree pick one that has soft rounded needles on it. A soft needled tree will also be safer if your pet tries to chew on the needles. Sharp needles can become lodged in the esophagus or stomach and can cause trauma and blockages. When it comes to live trees, make sure your pet cannot drink form the water reservoir. Most trees are cut in October or November, unless you get to pick your tree fresh at a tree farm, but even then, they are treated with chemicals up until you take it home. Some of those chemicals can leach out into the water reservoir and cause gastric upset or poisoning to your pet. Cover your reservoir with saran wrap or a towel to prevent exposure.
Tinsel. Tinsel is very pretty draped over the limbs of your Christmas tree but it can seriously injure your pet. Tinsel very easily cuts an animals mouth. If they should swallow it can cause lacerations in the esophagus, stomach and intestinal tract, possibly killing your pet. Skip the tinsel.
Christmas Lights and Cords. Cats and dogs have a natural knack of chewing on the wrong thing. Make sure all Christmas lights are out of reach and all cords are covered or taped down. A pet that has been electrocuted and survived will have severe burns in their mouth. They will be unwilling to eat or drink and will require vet care to survive the next few days.
The Holidays are not about spending quality time and money at the vet. Protect your pet for these holiday hazards and spend your time with loved ones instead. Always use common sense when it comes to your holiday decor and think about how it would affect your furry friend if they should come into contact with it. Call your vet immediately if something should happen. The sooner the better. Happy Holidays!