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Winter and Christmas Holiday Hazards For Pets

Aug 17, 2007
Christmas is a special time of year but its important not to forget your pets.The following tips will help to keep your pets out of danger during the holiday season this year.

Firstly, please make sure your pet AVOIDs the following holiday food items:

Alcoholic beverages Chocolate (baker's (dark), semi-sweet, milk chocolate) Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered espresso beans) Moldy or spoiled foods Onions, onion powder Fatty foods Salt Yeast dough

Ingestion of any food that your pet is not used to can cause intestinal inflammation (vomiting and diarrhea), but those mentioned above are specific toxins that may cause more life threatening conditions in your pet.

Holiday season plants to avoid:

Lilies found in holiday flower arrangements can be deadly to your cat. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, cause acute kidney failure in cats.

Poinsettias generally have low toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias irritate the mouth and stomach, causing mild vomiting or nausea.

Mistletoe can have a cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) toxic effect. More commonly, however, mistletoe ingestion usually causes gastrointestinal upset.

Holly ingestion can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Please call your veterinarian for advice in all cases to ensure that your pet doesnt need emergency veterinary care.

Hazards around the christmas tree:

Christmas tree water often contains fertilizers, that, if ingested, cause stomach upsets. Stagnant tree water can have extremely high bacterial content, which can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, if ingested.

Electric cords should be hidden or covered safely. If they were chewed, they could electrocute your pet.

Ribbons or tinsel can get stuck in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction if ingested.

Batteries contain corrosives. If ingested they can cause serious ulceration to the mouth, tongue and intestines.

Glass ornaments can cut the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract if ingested.

Your medications:

Please keep all your prescriptions and medicines away from prying pets. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills can be lethal to your pet in very small dosages. For example, one 200mg ibuprofen tablet can cause serious stomach ulcers in a 10lb dog. Less than one acetaminophen tablet (325mg) can be extremely dangerous to a 7lb cat.

More winter hazards:

Antifreeze has a pleasant sweet taste but even in small amounts can be lethal. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be deadly to a cat or dog. Please be very careful when changing your cars coolant and always thoroughly clean up any spills. Store your antifreeze in a tightly closed container well away from your pet. Low Tox brand antifreeze contains propylene glycol and is recommended to use in pet households as this is less toxic. If you think your pet has ingested anti-freeze of any type please call your emergency veterinarian immediately.

Ice melting products can be irritating to the skin and mouth. Signs of ingestion can include excessive drooling, depression and vomiting.

Rat and mouse killers are used a lot during the holiday season. These can be lethal to your pet. Please be careful.

Your animal may become poisoned with little warning. You should keep telephone numbers for your veterinarian and a local emergency veterinary service in a convenient location. If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, seek medical attention immediately.
About the Author
Dr Matthew Homfray is one of the veterinary pet experts at www.WhyDoesMyPet.com. Our dedicated community of caring pet experts are waiting to offer you advice, second opinions and support.
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