Nothing can spoil holiday cheer faster than an emergency visit to the veterinarian this holiday season. Christmas decorations, especially tinsel, can be hazardous. Certain foods that spell joy to the human world can be toxic to our pets.
Here are some safety tips, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA):
- Keep people food out of reach of your pets and ask your guests to do the same.
- Do not leave your pet alone in a room with lit candles, a decorated tree, or potpourri.
- Holiday plants, especially mistletoe, holly, and lilies are toxic to pets. Keep them out of reach.
- Never feed them ham, lamb, or other fatty foods. Besides an upset stomach, eating fatty foods can give your pet potentially deadly pancreatitis. “Even if your pet survives, pancreatitis can cause lifelong problems,” says Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer with the American Kennel Club.
- Be especially careful of foods like onions, garlic, chives, and leeks. These members of the allium family are great for boosting human immune systems but are toxic to dogs and cats. They can cause anemia and gastroenteritis. Unfortunately, signs of ingestion may not appear for days and include nausea, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, and increased heart and breathing rates, according to PetMD.
- Another no-no is chocolate. Caffeine and theobromine are the toxic culprits here. Dark chocolate is the most toxic because it contains more of these chemicals.
- If you have a cat, leave the tinsel off the tree, says the AVMA. The association suggests hanging lemon-scented air fresheners on the tree to deter the pet. Also, make sure that the tree is secure and will not fall over if a four-legged friend accidentally bumps into it.
- Have a safe place for your pet to escape if he or she needs quiet time away from the festivities. A crate or tall scratching post can help, or a gate to secure the pet in another room.
For more seasonal safety tips, visit: Winter Holiday Safety Tips, a free guide from the AVMA.
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