It’s the middle of November, so radio stations are already starting to play holiday music and drugstores have stocked their shelves with red and green goodies. Ready or not, it’s getting to be that time of year again, with Thanksgiving rapidly approaching. With pets (and pet owners) in mind, the ASPCA has released a helpful set of recommendations for keeping dogs and cats out of harm’s way during the holiday season. Below are a few of the top tips, straight from the ASPCA:
Skip the sweets. Several popular holiday treats are toxic to pets. Candies containing the sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination, seizures and even liver failure in certain cases. “Chocolate, especially baker’s and dark chocolate, can also be potentially poisonous to animals, especially dogs,” advises Dr. Hansen. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity and increased thirst and urination, as well as abnormal heart rate/rhythm and even seizures. Cats also love to play with candy wrappers, but ingesting aluminum foil or cellophane can pose a choking hazard or cause intestinal blockage.
Decorations can be dangerous. Consider decorating your tree with ornaments that are relatively less enticing to pets, such as dried non-toxic flowers, wood, fabric or pinecones. Traditional decorations such as ribbons or tinsel, if ingested, can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction. This is a very common problem, particularly with cats. Also take care to prevent your pets from having access to glass ornaments, wires and cords from holiday decorations. If chewed, such ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth from shards of glass or plastic, while a wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock.
Cover the Christmas tree water. Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers which if ingested can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water can also act as a breeding ground for bacteria, and if ingested a pet could end up with abdominal discomfort, vomiting and diarrhea.
Visit the ASPCA’s website to read the entire list.