So, Thanksgiving is over. That means a lot of you are decorating for Christmas (or maybe you started decorating earlier). While decorating, keep in mind that not all decorations are pet-friendly.
Decorative plants can be potential sources of toxicity. Poinsettias are well known to be toxic, though generally only cause mild signs (mouth and stomach irritation, vomiting). Mistletoe can also be toxic, causing gastrointestinal issues and even cardiovascular collapse. Holly, too, can be highly toxic.
The Christmas tree, whether real or artificial, can also pose risks to pets. Pine needles can puncture your pet's intestines. Ingested ornaments can cause a wide variety of problems, depending on the material the ornament is made from. Cats (and even some dogs) with an inclination to climb the tree could end up pulling the tree down. Even some of the water additives used with real trees can make pets sick.
Electrical cords and lights can be potential sources of electrocution if chewed on by curious pets.
Be sure to keep holiday food out of your pet's reach as well. Candy, cookies, and nuts can all upset your pet's gastrointestinal tract, and some can make your pets incredibly sick. Chocolate can cause a variety of symptoms, including digestive issues, dehydration, excitability, a slow heart rate, seizures, and even death. Macadamia nuts can cause depression, rear limb lameness, vomiting, and tremors. Anything fatty, in general, can lead to pancreatitis. Large amounts of salted nuts can cause sodium toxicosis.
And, finally, tinsel and ribbon. Keep both of these out of reach of your pets. It might seem harmless to let your cat play with tinsel or ribbon, but both can be incredibly dangerous if your cat eats them. Both can easily become life-threatening linear foreign bodies (basically, one end of the linear object anchors somewhere and the rest of it continues to travel through the gastrointestinal tract), wrapping around the intestines and requiring surgery. Think about what happens when you see a loose thread on a blanket, and it sometimes bunches up the material when you pull on it. That's what tinsel and ribbon can do to a pet's intestines. Even worse, the tinsel and ribbon can cut through the intestines. If you have a cat and absolutely insist on using tinsel and ribbon in your decorating, make sure it is completely out of your cat's reach (easier said than done).
There are many more things our pets can get into, so use common sense when decorating for the holidays.
Please, Don't Feed the Animals
As the holidays are fast approaching, food will be coming from all directions. Make sure the food doesn't make its way into your pet's mouth.
While many things we eat are relatively harmless to our pets, many things can make our pets incredibly sick. Even something as seemingly harmless as giving your dog a turkey bone can have disastrous consequences.
Who really wants to spend a late night at the vet clinic with their beloved pet having surgery to have a piece of bone removed from its stomach or throat?
Even that "little piece" of turkey (or stuffing or pie or anything else that might be on the dinner table) has the potential to give your pet an upset stomach (complete with vomiting and/or diarrhea) or pancreatitis (with possibly worse vomiting and/or diarrhea than just an upset stomach, likely requiring one of those after hours vet visits and maybe hospitalization).
So, remember, table scraps and pets don't always mix. If your pet begs, defer its attention to its food or treats, or, alternatively, relocate your pet to a different room or its crate. Your pet will thank you later.
Animal Medical Clinic