The Christmas season is a time for celebrating, family gatherings, gift giving and if you are so inclined, God. Sometime pets are overlooked during this busy time. Here are some tips and hints to keep your fur buddy happy and healthy during the Holiday season.
1. Tinsel: probably the number one issue during the Holidays. Tinsel is shiny and dangles from the tree enticing your pet to play with it and sometime eat it. While playing with tinsel creates a mess once they eat it the problem begins. Tinsel can twist and bunch in your pets intestines and can be fatal. A trip to the Vet is a must if they ingest tinsel. Ornaments also fall into this category. Plastic, glass and aluminum ornaments can cause serious digestive issues as well if ingested. The can also cause cuts if broken and stepped on.
2. Holiday lights: Lights twinkle and shine and are enticing to cats and dogs. Chewing on electrical cords can be very dangerous. Not only can your pet get an electrical shock the can ingest the wire coating.
3. Candles: If you are one to burn candles be sure to place them high enough to not be reached by your pet. No only can your pet be burned a knocked over candle is a fire hazard.
4. Gift Wrap and Ribbon: Wrap and ribbon are like tinsel in that they can be ingested and cause serious intestinal problem.
5. Chocolate: Almost everyone knows that chocolate is harmful to dogs. The holidays provide lots of chances for chocolate ingestion. Chocolate contains fats and the most dangerous to dogs, methylxanthines caffeine and theobromide. According to Merck: “Theobromine and caffeine are readily absorbed from the GI tract and widely distributed throughout the body. They are metabolized in the liver and undergo enterohepatic recycling. Methylxanthines are excreted in the urine as both metabolites and unchanged parent compounds. The half-lives of theobromine and caffeine in dogs are 17.5 hr and 4.5 hr, respectively. Theobromine and caffeine competitively inhibit cellular adenosine receptors, resulting in CNS stimulation, diuresis, and tachycardia. Methylxanthines also increase intracellular calcium levels by increasing cellular calcium entry and inhibiting intracellular sequestration of calcium by the sarcoplasmic reticulum of striated muscle. The net effect is increased strength and contractility of skeletal and cardiac muscle. Methylxanthines may also compete for benzodiazepine receptors within the CNS and inhibit phosphodiesterase, resulting in increased cyclic AMP levels. Methylxanthines may also increase circulating levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine.”
6. Fat Trimmings and Bones: Fat trimmings both cooked and raw can cause pancreatitus. Certain bones are bad for dogs and cats. In particular turkey and chicken bones. So to be safe keep the holiday bones away from your buddies.
7. Toxic Plants: A lot of plants are toxic to pets. During the Holidays these plants are of more concern. Pine Needles (oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trembling and posterior weakness), Holly (intense vomiting, diarrhea and depression), Mistletoe (significant vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, erratic behavior, hallucinations and death) and Poinsettia (irritation to the mouth and stomach and vomiting).
8. Water: Wait, what? There are lots of new sources of water around during the Holidays. Christmas tree stands and Potpourri being the most significant. Why you ask? Most people put chemicals in the water of the tree stand to keep the tree fresh longer. Bad for your pet! Potpourri may smell good but it’s not good if your fur buddy eats it or drinks the water.
9. Strangers: Having a lot of new humans around can be stressful to your pet. Some pets enjoy the attention but others do not. Make sure you have a safe retreat for them in case they get overwhelmed. Also try to keep their feeding and potty break schedules. That can cause undo stress as well.
Last but certainly not least of all of the things to keep your pet safe is dressing up your buddy. If you have read any of my blogs you know my disdain with this practice. If you must do it make sure they are safe. Especially if they are unused to wearing clothes, ribbons or God forbid, fake antlers! If your pet gets stressed and are wearing something they are unaccustomed to the clothing could get snagged and choke them. Here is a link to a checklist that covers the above and more: http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_HolidaySafety.php
Happy Holidays. Be safe and keep your furry buddies safe too!