The holiday season is a time of family togetherness which usually involves our pets as well. These are a few considerations to keep our four-legged friends safe during the festivities.
Cats love to play with ribbons, tinsel, and garland. If these are swallowed, they can obstruct and saw through the intestines. This is a life-threatening condition and requires surgery. Keep these out of reach and supervise animals that play with string closely.
Dogs and cats may also be tempted to play with or eat Christmas tree ornaments. Make sure attractive ones are inaccessible to pets. From personal experience, baby fencing can be used to keep a rambunctious puppy from knocking over the entire tree.
Strings of lights and extension cords can also cause problems. If chewed, these can cause burns to or electrocute a pet. This is also an emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention.
This time of year, many of us have more chocolate around the house. Unsweetened baking chocolate has a much higher dose of the toxin theobromine than milk chocolate does. However, even milk chocolate can be dangerous to a small dog. Signs of chocolate poisoning include hyperactivity, nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea and death.
Pets can be included in holiday meals, but we must be careful with the type and amount of food we offer them. Sudden dietary changes can cause vomiting and diarrhea and fatty foods may lead to pancreatitis. This condition is serious and may require hospitalization. Keep any treats limited to a small amount (less than 10% of the regular diet) and avoid those high in fat.