With the holiday season just around the corner, most of us are looking forward to celebrating with our family and friends and we are fantasizing about that scrumptious holiday dinner. However, it is important that we not forget about our special family members, our beloved pets. It is our responsibility to keep the holidays safe and secure for them as well.
The holidays bring with them several potential dangers for our pets that we all need to be aware of. The most obvious is food. While we don’t want Fluffy and Sylvester to be left out, we must be sure they are not indulging in people food. It may be tempting to give them some of the leftovers, but many of these foods are high in fat. This high fat content can trigger a dangerous disease called pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can result in release of digestive enzymes into the abdominal cavity, causing serious damage and possible death. So, before you sit down to that dinner, feed your pets their normal meal so that they are less likely to be begging and less likely to make you feel guilty.
When you clean up the kitchen, be sure to secure the garbage container to prevent access by your pets. Most people are aware that bones can cause intestinal perforations and obstructions if swallowed, but just as dangerous are aluminum foil, plastic wraps, or utensils that have the scent of food left on them. Pets will greedily swallow these items, resulting in serious gastrointestinal problems.
Chocolate is another treat to avoid giving to your pets. Chocolate contains a toxin called theobromine which can cause hyperexcitability, nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea, cardiac problems, and death.
Christmas decorations create a potential hazard as well. Tinsel and ribbons are particularly attractive to cats that like to play with them. If swallowed, these items get snagged in the gastrointestinal tract, creating “linear foreign bodies” that will require surgical intervention for removal.
Lastly, we need to be aware that two favorite types of Christmas foliage, Poinsettia and Mistletoe can be toxic to pets that ingest them.
The holidays are a special time for friends and family. Don’t forget about you special family members, and please keep their holidays safe and secure.