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Protect your pet during the Holiday season

12/28/2016, noon
As the festivities of Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year are celebrated by families with loved ones, extra special attention ...

As the festivities of Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year are celebrated by families with loved ones, extra special attention must be given to hazards in the home that can affect the safety and health of their pets. Holidays are a very special time of the year and can be as much fun for a pet as their family.

Preventative steps taken now can help to make for a wonderful holiday season without an emergency trip to the veterinarian. Please use the following guidelines as a resource to ensure your pet is safe and happy during this season.

Guests Feeding Your Pet foods can cause significant illness, especially in larger quantities. Your pet may also gain exposure to alcoholic beverages and ingest more than their share. If you have any concerns about what your pet ingested, check with your veterinarian. When guests are in your home, you should confine or monitor your pets closely, especially curious dogs.

Ingestion of Bones from turkey, ham, lamb, etc. can be dangerous. Certain bones, especially those that are small enough, can pass uneventfully through the intestinal tract. However, if a bone is too large or too sharp, significant damage can occur to the intestinal tract and possibly require surgery. If you know your pet ingested any bone, promptly contact your veterinarian.

Chocolate and Baked Goods (DOGS) Some chocolate is tolerable in moderation; however, the darker chocolate and baking chocolates are more toxic. The degree of toxicity is a function of the amount ingested and size of your dog. Artificial sweetener containing xylitol, which is often found in candies and baked goods, can be very toxic to dogs.

Holiday Plants are beautiful in your home, but no so good for your pets. Poinsettias are fairly safe, though can cause intestinal irritation. Mistletoe can be toxic and become life-threatening. Lilies can be extremely toxic and deadly to cats; do not allow exposure. Holly can be toxic, but not typically life-threatening. Please call your veterinarian for advice, if you pet ingests any portion of these plants.

Christmas Trees and Decorations can pose many hazards for dogs and cats, including: 1. Tinsel, garland, and packing Styrofoam can be dangerous if ingested; 2. Ornaments if ingested can cause damage to the stomach and intestines because of the broken glass fiberglass fragments; 3. A tree falling over can injure your pet; secure your tree; 4. Pine needles ingestion can lead to intestinal irritation, or even an intestinal obstruction; and 5. Lights can be dangerous due to electrocution if your pet chews through cords.

Ribbons are dangerous if ingested by both dogs and cats. They can cause an intestinal obstruction, and even severe damage to the intestines, which can become life threatening.

Toys with Small Objects can be ingested by both dogs and cats, causing intestinal obstruction, which can require surgery. Early intervention can often prevent surgery if you know your pet ate something.

Ice Melts and Anti-freeze: Ice melts can cause damage to the footpads of your pet. Anti-freeze can be toxic at low levels and can become life threatening very quickly. Ice melts and anti-freeze are available in pet friendly formulas.

Liquid Potpourri and Burning Candles pose a fire risk, as well as risk of injury from the hot liquid. If ingested liquid potpourri can cause severe ulceration of the mouth and esophagus; early treatment is crucial.

It is essential to monitor your pet, because any of the aforementioned concerns can become life-threatening. If you have any questions regarding what is safe for your pet, it is important to consult with your veterinarian. There are several 24-hour emergency veterinary hospitals throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, when your veterinarian’s office is closed. Many of these problems cannot wait.

Have a healthy and safe holiday season and Happy New Year with the pet in your family!

For more information about the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, visit www.chicagovma.org.