Keep Your Pooch and Kitty Safe for the Holidays

Anything roasting on the open fire, chocolate-covered goodies everywhere, tiny tots hand-feeding Fido some raisin confection lovingly made by Aunt Wilma. and Christmas floral arrangements as far as the eye can see… well, you get the picture. Here come the holidays and the preparations and celebrations will likely be wrought with lots of potentially harmful foods, decorations and unsavory human behavior where your pets are concerned.

As always, the experts at Pet Health Network, have some tips to share that minimize the dangers for your four-legged friends. Certain foods, plants, home ornaments, and decorations pose the biggest threat, according to Veterinarian and contributing writer Justine A. Lee. Check out her complete story on the topic titled Holiday Pet Dangers: How to Keep Your Pet Safe This Year at the following link:

During the holidays Lee frequently treats pets that have chewed through wrapped edible gifts meant for their humans, including goody bags filled with chocolate-covered anything, or just chocolate itself. For instance, espresso beans (with or without a chocolate shell), can supply a potentially fatal amount of caffeine, macadamia nuts can result in temporary paralysis, and raisins can result in acute kidney failure, she writes.

Believe it or not, table scraps including ham and turkey, meat can be harmful to your pooch, too.

“Fattening, rich meat scraps can result in pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), causing severe vomiting, diarrhea, malaise, and abdominal pain,” Lee writes. “Breeds such as Miniature Schnauzers, Yorkshire Terriers and Shetland Sheepdogs are especially predisposed, so fatty foods are an absolute no-no.”

Sugarless confections pose a real danger for our pets, too. Gum, candy and desserts that contain the natural sweetener Zylitol are very toxic to dogs. This chemical can cause severe low blood sugar and even liver failure.

Beware the fruitcake, too. Unbaked yeast dough and the often-maligned fruitcake can cause gastrointestinal distress and even alcohol poisoning in Fido. Beautiful floral arrangements can be deadly to pets. Lee dismisses Poinsettias as the most lethal, instead singling out that distinction for flowers in the Lily family.

“As little as 1-2 leaves or petals – even the pollen – can result in severe, acute kidney failure in cats,” she writes. “Certain lilies including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer, day and Easter lilies pose the biggest threats. Thankfully, dogs are not affected, and only develop mild stomach upset with lily ingestion.”

Mistletoe is toxic to pets, but American Mistletoe is only mildly toxic while European Mistletoe can be deadly. So you’ll need to treat any mistletoe decorations with extreme care and be sure they are hung out of the reach of pets and small humans.

And if you have a cat and you’re planning to decorate your tree with tinsel or infuse your home with mouth-watering holiday scents from liquid potpourri, Dr. Lee strongly advises against it.

Tinsel, ribbon, string and yarn can all cause serious and even fatal injury to a cat’s intestinal tract. While some liquid potpourris contain chemicals that, if ingested, may result in severe burns to the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing and tremors. Liquid potpourri is less toxic to dogs but can still cause serious burns.

Lee recommended immediately contacting you pet’s veterinarian of you suspect your dog or cat has eaten anything mentioned above.

Here is the link to Animal Poison Control — The emergency telephone number to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control is 888-426-4435.  There may be a fee associated with using this service.

On another topic, if you have behavioral questions or concerns, including matters of canine obedience, dog aggression, food aggression or potty training, be sure to consult with your local NY Capital District, Albany and Saratoga Off Leash K9 Training professional. He or she has the expertise to successfully resolve most any of your pooch’s behavioral challenges!