Common Christmas & Winter Pet Hazards

Holiday Fixings Rich, fatty foods, like gravy or grease, can cause problems ranging from stomach upsets to pancreatits, resulting in pain, vomiting, and dehydration. This  serious condition usually requires hospitalization for treatment . This disease can be fatal.

Ribbons & Tinsel if eaten can catch in the GI tract, leading to bunching of intestine as the body tries in vain to move the string or ribbon through. This is a life-threatening condition requiring surgery. Never, ever pull on anything sticking out of an animal’s rectum as you could cut through their intestines, cut the string so that the animal cannot pull it and call an emergency clinic.

Electrical cords if bitten can result in a severe burn to the tongue, which causes the pet’s lung to fill with fluid, causing respiratory distress. This is an emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention.

Chocolate, Coffee and Tea all contain dangerous components.  Problems from ingestion range from diarrhoea, to seizures and death. Unsweetened baking chocolate and dark chocolate are the worst culprits, but all chocolate, fudge, and other candy should be placed out of your pet’s reach

Alcohol & Tobacco products kill pets every year. Unfortunately, pets are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of alcohol and  can  die after a single bout of alcohol consumption. Tobacco products can be fatal to pets, if ingested. Signs of poisoning include excitation, salivation, vomiting, and diarrhoea; this can progress into seizures, collapse and death. Keep cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, nicotine gum and patches, and ashtrays out of the reach of pets. Empty ashtrays frequently since cigarette butts contain about 25% of the total nicotine in a cigarette.

Miscellaneous Hazards: Silica Gel Packs, Christmas tree preservative, Ice Melts, Liquid Potpourri, foil from chocolates/cooking and any small toy parts are all potentially life threatening if ingested.

Glow-in-the-dark Sticks & Jewellery are not life threatening but the results of consumption are dramatic- profuse salivation, foaming, retching &/or vomiting. Hyperactivity, aggression, head shaking, hiding, and agitation have been reported. Signs stop once the pet has the taste out of its mouth and the product off its fur. Offer strong tasting food (tuna etc) and wash the product off the fur and skin. Taking your pet into a darkened room will aid in identifying the luminescent chemical on the skin or coat.

Dangerous Plants Mistletoe, Hibiscus, Christmas Tree needles, Christmas Cactus, American Holly, Mistletoe, Amaryllis, Poinsettias and Lily are just a few of the houseplants that are toxic to pets and children. If ingested, many of these plants are fatal.  If your pet has eaten a potentially toxic plant then call an emergency clinic and let them know you are coming and what plant/plants your pet may have consumed.

Cooking Keep pets out of the kitchen during the hustle and bustle of the season. The last thing you want is for someone you love to get underfoot and get burned from spillage. Raw meat is as dangerous to your pets as it is to you! No bones for pets as even small bones, especially cooked ones, can splinter causing tears throughout the intestinal tract, which can quickly kill your pet!

Other toxic foods Uncooked yeast dough will expand in the gastrointestinal tract and rupture the intestines.  Grapes, raisons, Macadamia nuts, are all toxic to pets and ingestion can be fatal. The artificial sweetener, xylitol that is present in some gums, breath mints, candy, and other human food is very toxic to pets, especially for dogs.

Visitors Please remember that visitors can stress pets unaccustomed to all the hustle and bustle. Visitors unaccustomed to pet may leave out medications & food that could harm your pet. Pets can get run over by approaching vehicles. Some pets would rather avoid the visitors, and be happier and safer hanging out in a quiet, safe place during the festivities.

Antifreeze kills pets and children every year. It is very sweet smelling and tasting. Treatment needs to be within the first 4 hours. Antifreeze poisoning  can kill quickly or take months to destroy the  kidneys resulting in fatal kidney failure.