The holidays are a time for sharing lasting memories with our loved ones. For those of you that have pets in the family, there are some things to watch out for so those memories don’t include an emergency visit to your vet! Let’s take a few simple steps to help safeguard our fuzzy family members from harm during this holiday season.
There are hidden dangers in our beautiful holiday decorations … items like tinsel and ribbon can be very tempting to cats and puppies. The danger comes from swallowing these items. Tinsel or ribbon can get caught up in the intestines and cause life threatening blockages that may require surgery. Not a fun development during the family dinner!
Electric lights and cords can also prove to be irresistible to cats and puppies. Electrical cords when chewed on can lead to severe burns to the mouth and life threatening lung injuries.
Ornaments can be knocked off the tree by an adventurous kitty or by a wagging tail. Broken pieces of ornaments can cause cuts to the pads of the feet. Try to hang fragile ornaments high and try to secure them tightly to the limb. You may also consider buying shatterproof ornaments that have the look of glass ornaments but won’t break when your cat mischievously gets into the tree.
Poinsettias, mistletoe, and chocolates can be abundant during the Holiday Season. All of these festive items when ingested are toxic to our pets, so keep these out of reach. Also, holiday foods high in fat can cause serious illness to our pets. Your pets may sneak these high fat foods from unattended plates at the holiday party, or worse they may con your guests into sharing with their most powerful tool, the soulful gaze.
The holiday season is often accompanied by cold weather. If you’re lucky, you may even see some rare snowfall. Many of our pets are used to being indoors—their bodies are not adjusted to handle long periods of cold. A good rule of thumb is, if you are not comfortable staying outside in the cold then your pet isn’t either. If you have to leave a pet out in cold weather, provide a shelter from the wind and cold, just large enough for them to fit comfortably in but small enough to trap their body heat. Make sure that water bowls are filled daily, to ensure that the water has not frozen. Pets that are elderly or very young, or pets with thin coats or short hair are more susceptible to cold. If temperatures approach freezing it is best to bring your pets inside.
Another cold season-related danger is anti-freeze. It can be found in the garage or from a leak on the driveway. A small amount if ingested can be deadly. It is important to clean up all spills thoroughly, and store antifreeze out of reach of your pets.
Just by taking a few extra precautions and keeping your eye out for potential dangers can save you and your furry friends a lot of grief, or even save a life!
Dr. Sandra D. Ontiveros
Manchaca Village Veterinary Care