Keep Your Pet’s Christmas Merry

It’s holiday time. Pine trees, twinkling lights, shiny ornaments, brightly wrapped packages. And vomiting cats, obstructed dogs . . . Oh my!

There are always unsuspected dangers around the house, but especially during the holidays.

Tinsel, garland, ribbon. These are dangerous to both dogs and cats. Eating enough of any of these objects can cause a condition called linear foreign body. Many times, surgery has to be performed to remove them. so if you see any linear object coming from your pet’s rectum, DO NOT PULL IT! You can cause severe damage by pulling. See your veterinarian; he or she can determine the best course of treatment.

Strands of lights. These are a danger because of the electricity that runs through the cords. Pets might chew on them and receive an electric shock. Electric shock can cause fluid in the lungs, abnormal heart rhythm and even death. If you suspect your pet has been shocked, seek veterinary treatment immediately.

Fruit cake, chocolate, nuts, etc. There are many foods that humans can eat that can be detrimental or fatal to our furry friends. Fruit cake can contain raisins, which can cause kidney damage. Chocolate can cause GI upset, anxiety, seizures, abnormal heart rhythm, and even death. Certain kinds of nuts, including Macadamia nuts, can cause GI upset, muscle tremors and weakness. Fatty foods and those containing sugar can cause GI upset and pancreatitis. Even sugar-free products can contain artificial sweeteners that can be toxic to your pet. If you think your pet may have eaten something toxic, call your vet.

Christmas tree water. Some people add preservatives to the water to help their tree live longer. Depending on the ingredients, these can be hazardous to your pet’s health. If you are not sure, ask your veterinarian!

Batteries, small toys, etc. These can cause a choking and obstruction hazard to your pet. Batteries are also dangerous because of the chemicals they contain. If you think your pet may have swallowed any non-food item, call your veterinarian for advice prior to any at home treatment.

Rock salt, ice melt, etc. These can cause contact irritation like cuts or ulcerations to the paw pads, as well as GI upset if ingested in large quantities.

Anti-freeze. Many anti-freeze products are poisonous and can cause seizures, coma, permanent kidney damage, and death. If you suspect that your pet has ingested anti-freeze, take them to the closest veterinary hospital for treatment.

The holidays should be a time for celebration and family. Please keep your pets and their health in mind during this busy time of year. So many things that may seem harmless to us can be very dangerous to them. Never give your pet anything that you are not sure of, and always consult your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.

Dr. Jen Lauer graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007.  She practices at Valley Veterinary Emergency and Referral Center in Winchester, with interests emergency, critical care, internal medicine and complementary medicine.