Decorate safely. Some decorations, while festive, can be dangerous to curious dogs and cats. Ribbons and tinsel are attractive to pets but can cause serious harm when ingested - they can lead to intestinal blockages which may require emergency surgery. If your pet has eaten tinsel or ribbon, it is important to have him evaluated by a veterinarian right away. Snow globes, while fun to look at, can contain a highly toxic compound similar to antifreeze. The liquid is attractive to pets because it is sweet, but highly poisonous. Keep all decorative items at a safe distance from your dog or cat to prevent an unwanted emergency.
Use caution with electrical cords. As we decorate our homes for the festive season, extra power and extension cords are often used. When chewed or frayed, these cords can cause severe burns, electrocution, and even death. Prevent these disasters by keeping electrical cords out of reach or covered.
Batteries are highly toxic to pets. Both holiday decorations and many gifts contain batteries, which if chewed on by an animal can cause severe chemical ulceration and burns of the oral cavity and intestines. If you suspect that your pet has chewed on a battery, even if he is not showing signs of discomfort, it is imperative that he be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible .
Keep poisonous and dangerous plants away. Although poinsettias are often thought of as the hallmark poisonous holiday plant, other plants are actually much more toxic to both dogs and cats, including mistletoe and holly. In addition, lilies are extremely toxic to cats and if your cat comes into contact with one, he must be immediately evaluated by a veterinarian. Pine needles from the Christmas tree can cause digestive tract perforation and blockage if ingested in large quantities. We at Park East partner with the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control center, which provides excellent resources for learning which flowers and plants are harmful to dogs or cats.
Chocolate can cause illness and even death in dogs, and should be avoided completely. Darker chocolate causes more severe reactions than white or milk chocolate - but all can be dangerous, even in small quantities. Chocolate contains theobromine, a potent cardiovascular and central nervous system stimulant that is eliminated very slowly in dogs and can have serious side effects.
Table scraps may seem like a tasty treat for your cat or dog and often during the holidays we like to indulge them as we indulge ourselves! Unfortunately, rich human foods can often lead to vomiting, diarrhea or possibly inflammation of the pancreas resulting in a severe disorder called pancreatitis.
As friends and family visit us to celebrate the holiday season, changes in our daily routines can often be stressful for both you and your pets. It is important to provide your pets with a safe space where they can retreat and have peace and quiet.
The doctors and staff at Park East Animal Hospital are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide the best possible care for you and your pets.
We wish you and your pets a happy and healthy holiday season and all the best in the new year!