It's the first day of advent, and Christmas is fast approaching! There’s lots to celebrate, and much time to spend with family and friends. Amongst all the joy, caroling, and festivities, here’s a list of a few things to be careful of when it comes to our pets!
1) Fatty foods – Fatty foods like bacon, sausages, gravy, buttery mashed potatoes etc. sound delicious to us, but can sometimes trigger a bout of pancreatitis in our pets. Avoid feeding these foods to them! Pancreatitis is a painful condition that can cause vomiting, anorexia, dehydration, diarrhea, and in severe cases death (albeit not commonly this severe).
2) Other foods to avoid: onions, alcohol, chocolate, coffee grounds, rotten left overs, and dough that contains yeast. Contact your veterinarian should these foods be ingested. Artificial sweeteners like xylitol are extremely toxic as well, and are found in many candies or gum.
3) Toys, objects, ribbon, tinsel etc – With all the decorations, gifts, and wrapping, be careful of pets ingesting these objects. Ingestion of these can cause a foreign body or intestinal obstruction. If you have a pet that you know likes to chew on or swallow objects and toys, keep an extra eye out for these! Try to keep toys, gifts, wrapping paper, ribbons, and anything else stored away and out of reach of hungry mouths. Ornaments are a big one too, especially if your pet thinks they hang off the tree because they are meant to be played with!
a. Lilies – these common flowers are in many beautiful flower arrangements that you may give or receive. Many lilies are incredibly toxic to cats causing acute kidney failure. Immediate veterinary care should be sought should ingestion be suspected.
b. Pointsettias, Mistletoe, and Holly are toxic, although ingestion in most cases leads to gastrointestinal upset – ie. Vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Try to avoid these if possible.
5) Electrical cords – With lots of lights and other electronics being plugged in, be careful of the avid chewer. Electrocution is a serious concern if your pet likes to chew on these cords!
6) Batteries – swallowing a battery can cause serious issues if swallowed. With all those Christmas toys around, make sure their batteries aren’t lying around.
The list of dangers goes on, but these are a few to consider around the Christmas season. A few others worth mentioning during the winter are anti-freeze and excess salt consumption (de-icing salt is commonly available). Both of these should also be avoided. Should your pet ingest any of these, or anything else of concern, have your pet seen by a veterinarian in order to take the necessary precautions.
While the list of dangers goes on and on, it’s still important to enjoy your holidays! There’s plenty of safe and fun things to do still!
Merry Christmas Everyone!