Carols are on the radio and everyone is getting ready for Christmas day. You have wrapped the gifts and trimmed the Christmas tree. However, have you accidentally exposed your pets to potentially serious dangers?
The beloved symbol of Christmas is the tree and it contains multiple potential dangers to our pets. The tinsel is a shiny, attractive toy for cats especially. This decoration can be swallowed and cause an obstruction in the intestines and stomach. The remedy for this problem is unfortunately surgery. If you must have tinsel, please place it high enough that it will be difficult to get. Unfortunately, cats can be very good at climbing your tree to get the fun toy. The best choice is to keep tinsel off the tree.
Glass ornaments are another potential toy that can lead to cuts on the paws and around the mouth. If it is swallowed, it can cause cuts in the stomach and intestines. This is a very dangerous situation that once again requires surgery. Either keep the ornaments out of reach or use less fragile ornaments. Remember again, cats like to climb trees, especially to get the fun and bright toy.
Dogs are also crafty and will find ways to knock the ornament off the tree to play with it. Keep a very close eye on our furry friends. They are constantly looking for ways to play and have fun. Ornaments are not a good toy for them at any time.
Don’t forget the water that is used to keep the tree green. Dogs and cats do not know that the water in their dish and the water at the base of the tree are different. They will drink any water that is available to them. Drinking the water used to keep a tree fresh may expose them to fertilizers from the tree. The water may also contain bacteria from the soil. The fertilizer and bacteria can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Stacking gifts around the tree will help to slow them down, but it may not keep them out of the tree water. Keep a very close eye on your beloved pets and do not give them access to the tree when they can not be monitored.
What is Christmas without food and sweets? There are several foods that can cause problems for your beloved pets. Let us go over a few of the ones that can harm your pet.
Fatty foods can cause vomiting and diarrhea when eaten by your family pets. Dogs and cats do better with a lower fat meal. The amount of fat in our foods will, generally, be higher in fat than their regular food. Also, the increased fat can lead to a serious condition called pancreatitis. This may require hospitalization, intravenous fluids, antibiotics and nausea medication. The best choice is to give them dog or cat treats, in moderation, as a special gift during the holidays.
Bones can also cause vomiting and diarrhea. They may even lead to surgery if they splinter and become lodged in the intestines.
The bones you feed your animals will contain some excess fat and meat. This problem has been explained above and you don’t want to do that again. The splinters of bone are very sharp. As that moves through the intestinal tract, it scrapes and scratches the walls of the intestine. This may simply cause an infection from normal bacteria from the intestines entering the wound, or it may puncture the intestines. If the intestines are punctured from the bones, surgery will be needed to repair the intestines and there will be increased risk of infection in the abdomen, called peritonitis. This is a very serious and life threatening condition. Let’s avoid this altogether and not feed any bones to our pets.
Cookies, cakes and treats are a very fun and delicious part of the holidays. However, watch out for the sugar free treats that contain xylitol. This sugar substitute can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels and even lead to liver failure in pets. Treatment for this condition needs to be immediate and very aggressive. Animals can be saved but it takes a lot of care quickly. If you even think one of your pets has ingested a food containing xylitol seek care from your regular veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian. This is not a condition that can wait until the morning.
Chocolate is another favorite part of the Christmas season and, of course, you can eat too much of it. However, know that your furry friends should not eat this delicious treat. If one of your beloved pets eats some chocolate it may cause symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to elevated heart rates and liver damage. Keep the chocolate away from the puppies and kitties at all times.
Watch what you eat and especially watch what your pets eat. Treat them during the holidays but give them treats that are made for dogs and cats.
Christmas cocktails are also very common during this time. Some of the sweeter drinks are very inviting to our pets, for the exact reason you may be drinking them. Depending on the amount of alcohol that is consumed by your dog or cat, you may see symptoms ranging from weakness to even respiratory failure. Keep your drinks out of reach of your pets and your children. Be aware of who is watching you and be aware of where you place those festive cocktails.
You strive to childproof your house to keep your children safe. You need to have that same mentality with your furry children. Look around the house, especially as you introduce objects that are not normally in the house. Trees, decorations and different foods can be potential dangers for your pets.
Look around as you decorate and go through the Christmas season. If you think it may be dangerous, then assume it will be. If you have questions, feel free to ask your veterinarian. They would be more than willing to help you keep your pets safe during this holiday season.
If something does happen, contact your veterinarian, or if it is after hours, remember there will be emergency veterinarians and technicians working to keep your pet healthy during the night. Help your pets enjoy the Christmas season safely.