Avoiding Holiday Dangers


Ho Ho Ho and a Boo Hoo Hoo. Holidays are here, watch out for your pets, there are a lot of scary things out there. Holidays are fun times for humans and pets but there are lots of dangers associated with holidays that can be avoided by just a little awareness.

The obvious and most common cause of visits to the ER or veterinarian is vomiting and diarrhea with or without blood in it. Why does this happen? Joy of course! Everyone loves their pets and are so happy to be celebrating with family and friends. People love eating rich foods and so they decide to share their foods with their pets. For many dogs and cats this is not a problem because they have stomachs of steel and could probably eat rocks and be okay. But for others a rapid change in diet or undetected sensitivity to certain foods can cause a bacterial over growth that sends them into severe diarrhea. They usually come see us the next day. The usual culprits are Halloween candy, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah dinners.

The obvious Halloween dangers are; costumes that are too tight or restrictive. Pets left unattended who eat their costumes (not cool!), animals being scared by costumes and showing aggressive behavior towards family members (like kids), pets that run off and escape due to the constant opening and closing of the front doors (secure your pets), burns due to unattended candles (all holidays!), poisonous candies to pets such as chocolate and especially candies containing the artificial sweetener called Xylitol. A little bit of Xylitol can cause severe liver failure or death. I consider it a danger to pets and believe it should be taken off the market. The other scary thing about Halloween is the ingestion of foreign bodies such as; strings, artificial spider webs, lace, etc. These are very dangerous so be careful of their placement and try not to leave them lying around as cats are especially prone to these types of dangers.

As for Thanksgiving and Christmas, the same sort of rules apply, decorations can be eaten and cause trouble. Don’t be a turkey! Be careful with the placement of Thanksgiving props and remember cooked turkey bones get lodged in your pet. Keep the ribbons, tinsel and other ornaments high on the tree and not deep in your pet. The water in the Christmas tree base can be toxic if preservatives are added to it, so watch it! or cover it up if its non organic Christmas tree water.

Finally, watch out for beautiful seasonal plants like Poinsettia, mistletoe, and holly because they are toxic too. So now that I said all that, hope I didn’t rain on your parade and holiday decoration plans I’m just trying to keep you out of my office from things you can avoid!