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Pet Safety During the Holidays

Holiday season is coming up fast, and although we humans find decorating, wrapping presents, and spending time with our families fun and exciting, many of our holiday treats, decorations, and traditions can be harmful and even fatal to animals. Keep your holidays fun and worry free by considering some of the following holiday hazards.

Do you have a cat (or dog) who loves to play in your potted plants? Here is a list of plants you want to avoid having in the house and the damage they can do if ingested.

Lilies: may cause kidney failure in cats.

Holly: may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Mistletoe: may cause gastrointestinal upset and/or cardiovascular (heart) problems.

Poinsettias: while not as toxic as most people assume, can cause mouth irritation, vomiting, or nausea.

Keep your pets safe by opting for just-as-pretty artificial plants made from silk or plastic and hang wreaths where they will be out of reach of curious cats.

Is your favorite part of Christmas the tree? While fun to decorate and beautiful to have in the house, there are a few things to keep in mind when setting up your tree.

Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers, which can upset the stomach. Stagnant tree water can breed bacteria, which can also lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. The powdered additives used to keep your tree fresh can be toxic to cats.

Exposed electrical cords, if chewed, can electrocute your pet. Cover up or hide electrical cords and never let your pet chew on them.

Ribbons or tinsel can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction, tearing, and ultimately a painful death, especially is cats, who love to play with ribbons and tinsel.

Ingesting pine tree needles can cause an upset stomach and oral pain.

Ornaments can cause internal laceration when ingested, and yes, this does happen!

Consider keeping all of these items out of reach, or put a temporary gate to the room with the tree.

Gifts containing food or candy can be smelled by your dog and are often eaten, sometimes with paper, wrappers and plastic.

Who doesn't love to eat on Thanksgiving and Christmas? If you're the type of pet owner who likes to treat your pets from the table, please take a look at these potentially harmful items before you start passing the treats.

Chocolate: contains theobromine and caffeine, which can cause stimulation of the central nervous system, an increase in heart rate, and tremors. Cocoa beans and baking chocolate have the highest amount of stimulants, white chocolate has the least. Clinical symptoms--vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity, and increased thirst, urination and heart rate--can be seen with the ingestion of as little as 1/4 ounce of baking chocolate by a ten-pound dog.

Turkey, stuffing, ham, and all the fixings: too much fatty, rich, or even NEW types of food can cause gastroenteritis or pancreatitis. Both can be painful and serious.

Trash: your pets will smell the leftovers in the trash and won't hesitate to ingest harmful bones and potentially spoiled foods as well.

Bones: ham and turkey bones are tasty but can splinter, especially after cooking, and tear your pets' digestive tracts.

Onion: onions can cause hemolytic anemia - destruction of red blood cells - even in small amounts mixed into other foods.

Just say "NO" to your pet and let him enjoy the holidays with an extra dog or cat friendly treat instead. While they may pout now, they'll thank you later! Plain popcorn and carrots make great, healthy puppy treats!

Visitors: Even if your pet is super friendly and loves having company over, you still want to be cautious with new people in the house. Visitors may not know not to give treats (such as table scraps and candy), so be sure to set ground rules when they arrive. Also, visitors who aren't used to pets may not remember to shut doors and the last thing you want to spend your day doing is chasing down a lost dog or cat. And finally, if your pet isn't used to small children, it may be a good idea to put your pet in a separate area of the home to make sure no one gets bitten.

Of course, accidents happen, so if you suspect your pet has been exposed to toxic or harmful items, please contact us immediately at 702-258-0006. We hope you can enjoy your holidays without us, but we are here to help your pet if necessary.