Friday, December 7, 2012

Top 5 Holiday Hazards to Pets

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The holidays are a time of celebration and festivities for both us and our dogs. However, it can also be a time that poses many hazards to our dogs. Being aware of these five holiday hazards that are present in most homes may save you a trip to the emergency room for your dog.

1. Food hazards

The holidays are usually filled with lots of tasty treats; however, many holiday treats are really toxic for our dogs.

·      Fruit, nuts and chocolate
Raisins and grapes, even in small amounts, can lead to kidney failure in dogs, so be sure to keep a close eye on those fruitcakes and fruit and nut boxes. Many nuts, especially macadamia nuts, contain toxins and may cause pancreatitis. Chocolate contains two components that can’t be processed by dogs, making it especially toxic and possibly even fatal for dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to your pet.

·      Cooked bones and fat trimmings
While cooked bones may seem like an ideal treat for a dog, they can splinter and cause an obstruction in your dog’s stomach. Fatty meat, such as turkey skin and ham, may cause pancreatitis, which can be fatal.

(If you're looking to make a special food treat for your dog this Christmas, be sure to check here on December 16 for a special treat recipe.)

2. Hazardous holiday plants

While decorative, many holiday plants are poisonouseven deadlyfor pets. Some holiday plants to watch out for include these ones:

·      Poinsettia, mistletoe and holly
These plants are not only pretty but also pretty dangerous to our pets. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, intense diarrhea, erratic behaviourand possibly even deathMistletoe is the most dangerous of the three plants.

3. Christmas trees
Real Christmas trees smell amazing, but there are some hidden hazards here that you might not know of yet.

·      Pine and spruce trees
Christmas trees are considered mildly toxic. The oils can irritate the mouth and stomach, causing drooling or vomiting, and the tree needles can cause obstructions. Additionally, tree water additives usually include sugar, making the Christmas tree water especially tasty to dogs. However, this preservative is dangerous. If you’re considering a live Christmas tree this year, be sure to confine your pets to keep them away from the tree while you're at work or when they are unsupervised.

·      Decorations (tinsel and ornaments)

Tinsel and other decorations, such as ornaments, are particularly eye-catching to our pets but are also very dangerous. Tinsel can become caught in a dog’s intestinal tract, twisting and bunching in their intestines, which can be fatal. Glass ornaments could potentially cut a dog's mouth, throat and intestines when swallowed and also present a choking hazard.

·       Christmas tree lights
If you have a puppy or a dog prone to chewing on electrical wires, he or she could be attracted to the lights on the Christmas tree, resulting in a shocking surprise. Check the lights frequently for signs of fraying or chewing. Keeping your dog away from the Christmas tree area will help avoid this potential hazard.  

4. Alcohol
Alcohol is extremely dangerous to dogs even in what would be considered a harmless amount to humans. Be sure to keep a close eye on drinks left on coffee tables at your holiday parties as some pooches are drawn to the scent of alcohol. Alcohol affects dogs much the same way it does humans, so if you find your dog drowsy, unable to walk or uncoordinated, be sure to consult a veterinarian immediately.

5. Christmas wrapping and decorations
While seemingly tame, ribbons, string and yarn have the same effect as tinsel, which when ingested can become caught and bunch and twist through a pet's intestines, leading to an emergency vet visit and possible surgery.  

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