'Tis the season to deck the halls with boughs of holly
Holiday decorations look pretty, and the foods taste great, but both can be a health hazard to your pets.
The staff at the Kensington Veterinarian Hospital want you and your pets to have a healthy and happy holiday season.
These are the top ten hazards to keep in mind when it comes to the holidays and your pet's health:
1. Plants and flower - pretty, but toxic
Poinsettia plants have a reputation for being poisonous, but according to the Pet Poison Helpline they are only mildly toxic. Other plants pose a much bigger concern: lilies, mistletoe, holly berries and rosemary can all be toxic to dogs and cats. Inspect all floral bouquets before they come into the house. If you suspect that your pet has ingested toxic plants, call your veterinarian immediately.
2. Tinsel town
Tinsel, garland and ribbons can be very attractive to pets, especially cats. However, ingesting tinsel can result in a severe linear foreign body. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, "a linear foreign body occurs when your cat swallows something stringy which wraps around the base of the tongue or anchors itself in the stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. As the intestines contract and move, this string or linear foreign body can slowly saw through the tissue, resulting in severe damage to your pet’s intestinal tract." Again, if you suspect that your pet has eaten any stringy holiday decorations, call your veterinarian immediately.
3. Just say no to chocolate
Delectable chocolate treats are more abundant at this time of year and are often served on a table where pets can easily gain access. Be careful to keep chocolate out of reach or have someone stand guard around the dessert table.
Candy canes hung on a tree are ripe for the picking for dogs on the lookout for treats. Sugar, in any amount, is not good for animals.
4. Old decorations
Older or antique tree ornaments decorated with lead paint are a potential danger to pets and young children who see them as toys to play with and put in their mouths. If you suspect your tree decorations might have lead paint, place those ornaments high and out of reach.
5. Tree climbing enthusiasts
For the adventurous cat who likes to climb, the Christmas tree might be his or her Mt. Everest: "I climb because I can." Stories of cats toppling Christmas trees are the stuff of family folklore, so beware.
Also remember that a tree brings lights and cords. Some cats might play with and/or chew through electric cords, so be on the lookout for those behaviors.
7. Candle lit moments
Lit candles can accidentally get knocked over by a cat or dog, so stay alert. Never leave candles lit when out of a room for an extended period of time.
8. Just say no to bones
Whether serving turkey, goose, ham or lamb, most cooked bones are not good for pets to eat. Restrict your pets’ access to the trashcans once bones have been thrown out. For many dogs and cats, that which is garbage to us is a buffet to them.
10. Table treat and more
We all know that human food is not good for pets. When Aunt Edna, Uncle Harry and other family members visit, let them know the rules regarding giving human food to your pets. For many people, giving a sneak treat under the table is fun. But the animal can experience gastrointestinal issues if everyone is doing so.
Do you or others buy holiday treats for your pets? Yes, it's Christmas and everyone should get a treat or two, but watch the amount and control when and who gives the treats to the pets. Too much of a good thing is often not a good thing
If your pet is already on a strict diet, let friends and family know that a healthier gift would be a new toy, collar or leash.
We want to hear from you. What do you keep your eye on to ensure that you and your pet have a healthy and happy holiday?