Holidays and Pet Health

The holidays are here and with them we may bring things into the home that might not be good for our pet’s health.   Many of us are familiar with an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  This is so true with your pets and it can save you heartache, your pet’s life, and a lot of money in vet bills.

Beware decorations that contain holly, mistletoe, and lilies.  Holly (leaves and berries) causes stomach upset and can be potentially fatal to both dogs and cats if swallowed by them. Mistletoe can lead to an upset stomach and can cause heart collapse.   Poinsettias can cause blisters in your pets mouth and cause stomach upset. If your pet chews on the branches of a Christmas tree the pine needles from a live tree can be toxic and cause mouth and stomach irritation.  Artificial trees contain wire and plastics that can lead to blockages and bowel obstructions.  Avoid decorating the tree with food items (candy canes, gingerbread, popcorn).  If your pet has access to the water under the tree this could also end badly. Many of the additives we put in this water are sugar-based making them attractive.  However they often contain  fertilizers, insecticides, and flame retardants.

Many of the foods that we like during the holidays can also have bad effects on our pets.  If you have ever put that tasty gravy on your dogs food you may want to stop.  These rich, fatty gravies and greases can cause pancreatitis which can cause pain, vomiting and dehydration.

Alcohol and pets.  Some find an intoxicated pet funny. Unfortunately each year hundreds of dogs die after consuming alcohol just once.  Now you know.

Xanthines a component of chocolate, coffee and teas cause nervous system or urinary system damage and heart muscle stimulation.  In addition chocolate contains theobromine which can lead to indigestion, diarrhea, seizures and death.  Beware unsweetened baking chocolate and dark chocolate these are also included in this warning.

Any uncooked dough with yeast that is eaten by your pet expands causing pain that could lead to a rupture of either  the stomach or the intestines.

Grapes and raisins can damaged your pet’s kidneys.

Many chewing gums, breath mints, candy, and other human food can be very toxic to dogs if they contain the artificial sweetener, xylitol.  This could cause death.  Special mention goes to some of the peanut butter on the market today – the ingredients may have changed.

Remember you are your pets guardian and he or she relies on you to love and protect him from harm.  This list may not include all of the hazards your pet may encounter throughout the holidays. Education is the key to keeping your pet healthy.  Here’s wishing you a very Happy Holiday or Merry Christmas.





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