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Holiday dangers for dogs and cats

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The holidays bring with them numerous dangers for our pets. Let's talk about a few of those dangers.

  • Be careful with ribbons, bows, tinsel, garland, and similar objects. Curious pets may swallow these items, resulting in a dangerous intestinal obstruction, blockage, or even perforation.
  • Many of the plants and flowers that are popular this time of the year are poison for our pets. Though poinsettias have traditionally been cast as one of the most toxic plants of the season, the danger they pose in comparison to some of the other holiday plants pales in comparison. Lilies are extremely dangerous, especially for cats. Christmas cactus is toxic to pets. Amaryllis is another popular holiday plant that can pose problems for our pets. Mistletoe, holly, and ivy (depending on the type) can also present a risk for poisoning or, in cases where the real berries are replaced with plastic simulations, a choking or foreign body risk.
  • Holiday trees can also pose a threat. Pets, especially puppies and kittens, like to chew on things as a means of exploring their environment. Ingesting pine needles while chewing can pose a threat. Likewise, the water we use to keep our trees fresh through the holidays often contains fertilizers and other chemicals that can be toxic if ingested. Physical injury is also possible should a pet be successful in knocking over a tree.
  • Tree ornaments, if breakable, can fall and shatter into sharp pieces, creating a hazard for your pet's paws or even your own bare feet.
  • Candles and fireplaces with open flames can singe and/or burn your pet's fur should your pet wander too close. Worse, these items can also pose a fire hazard that could endanger your home, your pet, and your entire family.
  • Potpourri contains essential oils and other substances that can be poison to your pet if ingested.
  • Electrical cords, a common item in homes with holiday lighting, can cause electrocution and/or severe injury to your pet if a playful puppy or kitten bites into a live cord.
  • Many of the foods we enjoy during the holidays are dangerous for your pet, if consumed. Chocolate is a prime example of a food that is toxic to pets. Sugarfree candy canes and other treats that contain xylitol (a sugar-free sweetener) are deadly even in small amounts to dogs. Even those foods that are not directly toxic can still make your pet sick. For instance, too much fat from the holiday turkey could cause pancreatitis for your dog.

These are a few of the holiday risks found frequently in homes throughout the country during the holiday season. Please watch the included video for more information.

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