Keep your pets safe during the holiday season

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be stressful and sometimes dangerous for pets. Please keep a close eye on your pets during this busy time of year.

HOLIDAY FOOD & DRINK Many pets are adept at finding food on counter tops and tables, so keep your dinner out of reach. Ask guests not to feed the pet table scraps. Avoid feeding sharp poultry bones to cats and dogs. A turkey bone can splinter and become lodged in the throat or further down the digestive system. Ingestion of Xylitol , a low-calorie artificial sweetener found in baked goods from grocery stores or bakeries, can lead to liver injury or even liver failure. Chocolate can also be toxic to animals. All foods containing chocolate should be safely stored away in areas inaccessible to pets. Alcohol is a dangerous substance for pets. Dogs in particular may be attracted to alcoholic beverages, so keep drinks and bottles out of reach at all times. Signs of alcohol intoxication in pets may include vomiting, wobbly gait, depression, disorientation, and/or hypothermia. If alcohol ingestion is suspected, bring your pet to see a veterinarian immediately.

CHRISTMAS TREES Christmas trees with their prickly pine needles, wire hooks, shiny ribbons, and small ingestible ornaments are particularly hazardous; and glass ornaments can shatter and cut your pets feet. Christmas tree water can be harmful to pets. Chewing on Christmas light cords could shock, burn or electrocute a pet. Tinsel, which is sparkly and especially attractive to pets, can cause blockages in their intestines, leading to an emergency trip to the veterinarian’s office. Also be careful with unattended lit candles, they can be easily knocked over by a playful puppy or kitten causing a fire or burns on your pets face.

HAZARDOUS PLANTS Holly: This ornamental plant is a common Christmas fixture and ingestion is most commonly associated with signs such as digestive upset and nervous system depression. They have some of the same toxic components as chocolate (caffeine, theobromine). Mistletoe: A Christmas decoration, the American Mistletoe produces quite severe irritation of the digestive tract, as well as whole body symptoms including low heart rate and temperature, difficulty breathing, unsteadiness, excess thirst, and sometimes seizures, coma, and even death. Poinsettia: These are members of the spurge family. The ingestion of leaves generally results in mild to moderate digestive upsets. Signs include excess saliva, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you suspect your pet has chewed or eaten something unusual, call the veterinary clinic immediately. Do not wait until the end of a weekend, or overnight for regular office hours. Some toxins can damage internal organs and may cause significant (and perhaps irreversible) injury in a short time frame. There are many other toxic plants – for more information check the ASPCA Website.

OUTDOOR DANGERS If you are putting antifreeze in your car make sure none is spilled. A tiny amount can severely injure the kidneys, and even kill your beloved pet. Consider using the more pet friendly safer antifreeze products (based on propylene glycol, NOT ethylene glycol) Before starting your car bang the hood. Cats like to get out of the rain and crawl underneath the hood to stay warm. <Click here> for additional Information for keeping your pet safe for Christmas

PETS DO NOT MAKE GOOD CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. Please do not give a kitten or puppy as a gift as choosing a pet is a very personal decision. It is better to give a gift certificate or card and the recipient can choose the perfect pet for him or herself.

Dr. Edwin Mulder ten Kate, Jeanette, Tanya, Jody, Helga & Lorie would like to wish you, and your family and pets, a very Safe and Merry Christmas. If you have any questions or concerns please call us at (604) 850-044.