Contributed by Jennifer Dew, 9 to 5 Pets
The holidays are such a joyous time of year for people and their pets. However, it’s important to keep in mind that simple holiday traditions, such as trimming the tree and decorating the house, can pose potential problems to our precious Fur Friends if not monitored carefully.
Much like toddlers, pets are attracted to bright lights, shining ornaments and dangling tinsel. And so pet owners need to be aware that many holiday decorations can be hazardous to their pets.
Many holiday plants are also poisonous to pets, including the berries of the mistletoe, holly, hibiscus, Christmas roses and the poinsettia. Pine tree water from the Christmas tree can also be poisonous to pets.
Food is another culprit for some of the most common holiday pet emergencies.
To ensure a happy and safe holiday season for you and your pets, 9 to 5 Pets recommends that pet owners be cautious of the following:
- Dark and baker’s chocolate: While milk chocolate is not poisonous, it will cause a pet to have an upset stomach. On the other hand, dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate contain high levels of theobromine and caffeine. Animals are extremely sensitive to both, and ingesting either type of chocolate could be fatal.
- Chocolate gold coins: These treats—sometimes used in Hanukkah and Christmas traditions—should be kept in a location that cannot be accessed by pets. Not only do the chocolate coins contain theobromine and caffeine, but the shiny foil wrappers can also cause intestinal issues if digested.
- Xylitol: This sugar substitute causes a dog’s blood sugar to drop quickly. This poisoning can be treated, but causes liver failure if not treated properly.
- Macadamia nuts: Dogs experience severe weakness in their back legs, appearing paralyzed, after ingesting macadamia nuts. Dogs usually recover from this condition within three days.
- Bread dough: When bread dough is ingested it continues to rise, causing an intestinal blockage.
- Latkes and sufganiyot: For pets, ingestion of these Hanukkah treats could result in a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including vomiting and diarrhea. Also, some ingredients can have even more dangerous consequences. The onions in latkes, for example, can cause Heinz body anemia in both cats and dogs.
If your pet ingests any potentially harmful product, call your vet or a local emergency animal hospital immediately.
By keeping these helpful tips in mind, we can keep our pets out of danger while still enjoying the food, fun and festivities that accompany the holidays.