Thanksgiving turkeys with all the trimmings, Christmas trees surrounded by shiny gifts, and parties lasting through the end of the year are causes of joy. Unfortunately for our pets, these situations can be causes of disaster. Holidays can be hectic times, and your four-legged friend getting into mischief may add to the stress. Here are some common ways a pet can end up on the naughty list if holiday plans go awry.
- Scarfing table scraps — It’s tough for us humans to turn down mouth-watering turkey, pies, and cookies, and it’s even more difficult for our pets. But, sniffing out the unattended plate of goodies or nosing through the trash can lead to potentially deadly gastrointestinal problems.
- Rich or fatty foods can cause pancreatitis, inflaming the organ in charge of producing digestive enzymes. Abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea are commonly seen with pancreatitis, and treatment usually requires hospitalization.
- Xylitol-sweetened treats, such as sugar-free candies and desserts, can be deadly to dogs. Signs of xylitol toxicity can appear within 15 minutes of ingestion and include lethargy, vomiting, collapse, seizures, liver failure, and even death.
- Chocolate is ever-present throughout the holiday festivities. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. Theobromine toxicity in dogs can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and heart failure.
- Destroying decorations — Whether your Christmas tree is real or artificial, your dog may see it as a conveniently placed indoor bathroom. And, to your feline friend, that 9-foot-tall Scotch pine is the perfect Christmas gift to her—a gigantic climbing post, adorned with glittering balls and glowing lights. Gate off the tree to prevent access to fertilized water, glass ornaments, and electrical cords.
- Obliterating outfits — Garbing children and pets alike in adorable outfits may be the highlight of a Christmas card, but leave the cute clothes for the kids. Avoid dressing your pet in clothes that may restrict her breathing or movement. Turkey feathers, jingle bells, and glitter may appear to be chew toys to your pet, but, if consumed, can cause some serious gastrointestinal issues. If you can’t resist the temptation of dressing your pet up for the holidays, stick with a holiday-themed collar, rather than an entire outfit.
- Vanquishing visitors — Most pets are not actually “party animals,” preferring to instead avoid boisterous crowds. Stress and anxiety can build as visitors crowd your home, potentially causing your pet to become fearful and lash out. Avoid mishaps with strangers by providing a safe space for your furry friend away from the hubbub. A cozy bed, a tasty treat, and an entertaining toy in a quiet room will help your pet escape the chaos.
- Pulverizing plants — During the dead of winter, we like to brighten our homes with festive greenery and bright flowers. But, several of these holiday plants can cause severe illness or even death if consumed by our pets.
- Poinsettias have a bad rap as being deadly to pets, but they are actually only mildly toxic. When eaten, the sap can cause vomiting, drooling, or diarrhea. And, redness, swelling, and itchiness may occur if the sap touches the skin.
- Mistletoe can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, shock, and death within hours of ingestion. Be sure to place this plant out of reach of any pets.
- Holly comes in many different varieties, and quite a few can be toxic. If your pet happens to munch upon holly leaves or berries, call us to verify if it is a toxic strain. Signs of poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhea, lip smacking, drooling, and head shaking.
- Ruining ribbons and wrapping — Tearing into a pile of presents should be reserved for the children, leaving the pets with their own stack of unwrapped, pet-friendly gifts. Tangles of tinsel and rows of ribbon can capture the attention of a frisky feline but can also lead to disaster. If your cat ingests strands of string, it can cause a linear foreign body obstruction, and the intestine will bunch around the string as it contracts. These contractions may cause the string to saw through the intestine, quickly causing a potentially deadly infection. If your pet ruins your beautiful wrapping job and chows down on ribbons and strings, call us immediately.
Is your pet wreaking havoc on your holiday festivities? Give us a call at 704-971-2075 to put a stop to any merry mishaps and ring in a happy and healthy New Year.