Wednesday, 08 November 2017 20:10

Holiday Safety Tips

Written by  Dr. Mindy Cohan
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Thanksgiving Tips

• Ask guests to please avoid feeding table food to pets.  Fatty foods are particularly dangerous and can cause a serious condition known as pancreatitis.
• Never leave kitchen trash bags unsupervised! Dogs and cats will become very ill if they eat bones or other items in the trash.
• Keep pets confined while guests arrive and depart to avoid escapes from the house.
• Be sure that all pets have proper identification tags or microchips.

Christmas tree safety

NO TINSEL! - If swallowed by dog or cat, tinsel and ribbons can cause severe damage to intestines and possible death.

• keep tree well watered so needles do not become dry and create a fire hazard
• use safety approved lights
• always turn off lights when leaving home
• tree fertilizer added to water can be toxic if ingested by pets
• be sure that tree ornaments are well secured so they cannot fall onto floor and be consumed (some dogs will even eat glass ornaments)
• do not leave wrapped food items under tree, dogs will be able to smell food and will ravage the package
• exposed electrical cords, if chewed, are very dangerous to puppies, kittens, rabbits

Hanukkah Safety Tips 

• Supervise Hanukkah and other holiday candles while they burn.
• Be sure to keep open flames out of cats’ reach.
• Latkes are very greasy and can cause pancreatitis in dogs.

Harmful Foods

• theobromine is the toxic agent found in chocolate, it affects the body similarly to caffeine
• baker’s chocolate (bittersweet) is the most dangerous, “white” chocolate does not contain cocoa powder and is therefore not as dangerous except to cause vomiting and diarrhea
• the onset of effects can be seen from 4-24 hours after ingestion
• signs of chocolate toxicity include: vomiting, tender abdomen, hyperactivity, seizures and death are possible 
• If your dog eats chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately!
• Other food items that are unsafe for dogs include raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, and garlic. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in sugarless gum and baked goods can be fatal if ingested by dogs.

Toy Safety

Who can’t resist buying your furry friend a new toy for the holidays? Choose toys wisely! Avoid gifts that can be destroyed and ingested if your dog is prone to dismantling stuffed toys. Stuffing, squeakers and other toy components can lead to obstructions if ingested.  Although cats love to play and chase ribbon and string, if ingested, these materials can be very dangerous.  Be particularly careful to put away ribbon used for wrapping gifts.

Plant Safety

Holly and mistletoe can both cause severe gastrointestinal upset.  If you must hang mistletoe, be sure it is out of pets’ reach and well secured.  Poinsettia plants are mildly toxic and can cause vomiting and drooling, so keep these out of reach.  If you have cats and receive a holiday bouquet with lilies, do not keep them in the house.   A mere nibble on a lily plant can cause severe kidney damage to cats.

If your pet has ingested something toxic, call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or Pet Poison Hotline at (855)764-7661. Both have operators available everyday of the year, 24 hours a day.  There is a consultation fee, but it is well worth the life of your pet.

Gift Ideas for Pets

The gift of health and a long life are top recommendations for your pet. At least 40 % of dogs and cats in the US are overweight.  Health problems related to obesity include diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems, and arthritis (joint pain).  Providing exercise, a nutritious and healthy diet, and healthy treats for dogs and cats is a better way of showing your love compared to feeding table food and fattening snacks. Many dogs enjoy carrots, apples, canned pumpkin and green beans. Indoor cats are at high risk for being overweight since they spend most of the day sleeping and eating. Feeding measured amounts of food is better than continuously filling a food bowl.  Provide interactive toys to get your cat moving off the sofa.   

• Pawprints ornament – kits are available to create a lasting imprint of your pet’s foot
• New beds for dogs or window sill perches for cats
• Comfortable traveling carriers for small dogs or cats
• Homemade dog treat kits or recipe book
• Toys
• New collar, leash or harness


Read 8396 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 November 2017 20:27