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Peterborough, ON K9K 0E6
Phone: 705-745-5550
Fax: 705-745-5502

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Potential Holiday Hazards for Pets

December 12th, 2017

The holidays are a wonderful, magical time of year! A time that you don’t want to spend in the veterinary emergency room. Unfortunately, during the holiday’s there are a lot of potential hazards to your pet. Here a few tips to avoid the most common holiday hazards.

Be particularly cautious of your pet around anything that contains chocolate. It is toxic to both dogs and cats. Cats are usually uninterested in chocolate which is why we usually don’t hear of cats with chocolate toxicities but it is just as toxic to them as it is dogs.

Grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs and cats. Make sure to keep that delicious fruit tray or fruit cake well out of reach of your pet(s)! Also make sure guests know the harm associated with grapes and raisins so that they are not feeding your pet any.

Human medications. Many people visit over the holidays and it’s important to make sure that any medications they bring with them are kept out of reach from your pet. This is especially important for people who don’t have pet’s of their own and aren’t used to having to keep their medications in a safe place.

Tinsel can appear as a shiny, fun toy for pets, especially cats but it’s not so fun when it’s wrapped around their intestines causing serious problems! It’s better to forget the tinsel altogether if you have a cat in the household.

Many people use ribbon when wrapping Christmas gifts but it is another easily ingested “fun toy” that can cause a lot of gastrointestinal problems.

Holiday plants such as mistletoe, poinsettias and holly are three of the more toxic holiday plants to pets. It is recommended that they are avoided altogether. Some people try to put them up in high places where the pets can’t reach them but even leaves falling off the plant can find their way into our curious friend’s mouths.

Ornaments can look like fun toys to our pets but they are often very sharp and embellished with sparkles and little pieces. They have the ability to injure paws, mouths and other body parts when pet’s are playing with or chewing them. Although it is virtually impossible to avoid having any ornaments in the house just make sure pets are supervised when they are around ornaments.

Alcohol can cause some serious issues in our furry friends so use your common sense when placing your Christmas cocktail down. There are some holiday foods that contain alcohol as well so make sure that guests aren’t feeding your pet’s any sort of food that contains alcohol without realizing the danger. It is a good idea to ask guests not to feed your pets in the first place to avoid annoying begging behaviour and upset tummy’s.

Christmas trees can look like a big jungle gym of fun to your furry feline. However, pine needles from Christmas trees can actually puncture the intestines of pets if ingested so if you have a real tree sweep up the needles regularly. If you see your cat or dog snacking on the pine needles from the tree make sure to scold them so that they know that is not acceptable behaviour. Another thing to keep in mind is water in the Christmas tree stand is usually stagnant water where bacteria are growing rapidly so don’t let your pet’s drink from there as it may cause their stomachs to become upset.

Candles are often used around the holidays. Make sure to place them up high and away from anywhere your pet could get to avoid burns or starting a fire if knocked over. Remember that wagging tails have the potential to knock candles over as well. When finding a place for the candle confirm that it is very secure and won’t easily topple over.

Electrical cords such as string lights are very enticing to pets. The two main risks are burns and electrical shock. Try to place cords and lights out of reach of your pet and only have them turned on if your are supervising.

Sometimes the best thing we can do for the furry members of the family is put them in a separate room away from all the commotion so they can just chill and have somewhere peaceful to spend their time during the holidays. Be sure to put their food, water, beds, toys and litter box’s with them.

All of these potential holiday hazards can be minimized if you are aware of them and prepared for the worst. Have the closest emergency clinic’s number handy as well as the Pet Poison Hotline phone number. The Pet Poison Hotline is a number you can call for advice on what to do when your pet has ingested a toxic substance. They have information and recommendations on what to do for specific products. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed by everyone so be sure to keep these holiday hazards in the back of your mind to ensure that everyone has a wonderful holiday season, including the fur members of the family!

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