Village Animal Clinic

Holiday Hazards For Your Pets

Christmas is a wonderful time of year but it can also be a hazardous one for our pets.  During the festive season, what we perceive as a Christmas decoration or treat may prove to be dangerous or even lethal to our animal friends.

Indoor Christmas trees can be knocked over by climbing felines or clumsy canines, which can bring harm to both them and their owners.  Make sure the tree is well secured at the base and all electrical cords and decorations are out of your pets’ reach.  Tinsel and ribbon should not be used in homes with pets as ingestion of these may cause an obstruction in the intestinal tract.  Glass decorations can break causing cuts to the feet and mouth.  Some animals will actually eat the glass, which can cause internal bleeding and perforation.  Electrical cords may be chewed resulting in electrical shocks or burns.

Many plants that are associated with Christmas can be toxic to our pets.    If left accessible, they may be chewed and/or ingested by our four-legged friends.  Make sure Mistletoe, holly, ivy, Poinsettia, Christmas Rose, Christmas Cactus, lilies, Star of Bethlehem, Yew, Jerusalem Cherry, Hibiscus, Jequirity Bean, and Christmas greenery (pine, cedar) are out of reach to all animals in the household (they can be dangerous to small children as well)!

No matter how good your four-legged friends have been this year, resist the urge to give your pets human Christmas food treats.  Fatty foods can cause problems ranging from a touch of diarrhea to potentially life-threatening pancreatitis.  Chocolate and onions should never be fed to dogs as they can be toxic.  In addition, chicken and turkey bones should never be fed as they can result in obstructions or perforations, both of which lead to emergency surgery.  As an extra precaution, secure all garbage containers firmly.

At Christmas and throughout the winter, antifreeze is a danger to your pet. Even in very small amounts, ethylene glycol causes crystals to form in an animal’s kidney, ultimately leading to kidney failure and death!  Pets should always be kept away from driveways, garages, and any other locations that antifreeze may have spilled. It is also important to make sure that your car isn’t leaking antifreeze. Rapid treatment is the key to successful treatment for antifreeze toxicity. If you see your pet ingesting antifreeze or think he/she may have, please call your veterinary clinic (or after-hours emergency clinic) immediately!

Lastly, don’t forget that during the winter season cats and dogs can be very susceptible to frost bite, so don’t leave them outside for long periods of time.

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