Ash Veterinary Clinic


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Holiday Gluttony

We have come to that magical time of year. To help make your holiday festive and safe, we want to share some of the holiday hazards that can cause you unneeded stress and trips to the veterinary emergency room.   With a little awareness, you can prevent some holiday hazards from stealing your joy. Most holiday pet hazards revolve around food and many owners share bits of food with their pet that is sometimes to their detriment.

Just like us, when a dog or cat eats some of this yummy food, they can get an upset tummy. Many things can cause dietary indiscretion: poultry skin, gravy, pie, an entire bowl of mashed potatoes, ham, and yeast dough rising. Holiday foods often include ingredients toxic to pets, such as chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, or raisins. Whatever items are ingested, it typically does not end well because vomiting and diarrhea go into overtime and that tends to put a damper on any and all holiday parties!

Just as we need to take care in what we intentionally share, we also ne to be careful with the food we unintentionally share. I have sat down for a snooze after a big holiday meal only to get up and find my animals have helped themselves to food left out on the counter. Be it a tall dog who can devour an entire platter of decorated cookies or a counter-surfing cat, if you do not intend to share it, put the food away!

Holidays also bring carloads of people to your home for which the door must be opened. Family dropping in, postmen delivering packages, neighbors sharing cookies, and so on. For some of our pets, these are great opportunities to run. If you are having a party, make sure your pets are in a room with a closed door or a crate, so they cannot escape as your guests come and go. If you live with a Nervous Nellie, being safely tucked away from the main event makes her feel better about her home being invaded by party-goers! Be sure to keep an ID tag on your pets in case they zoom out the front door.

Those holiday decorations can have some not so sparkling consequences for your pet as well. Special dangers include tinsel and broken glass ornaments. Some cats really enjoy “helping” with the ribbons and bows on presents, tenderly shredding them into objects to be swallowed. There are some pet owners who go ribbon-free to keep their cats from playing with these toys.

As in most homes, we often use a few extra extension cords for all the lights and dancing reindeer. Puppies, kittens, or rabbits of any age think that chewing on cords is a great past time. Keep in mind that your pets may think these cords are fabulous new toys, so let’s keep them out of reach.

If you have a fresh holiday tree, make sure you are watering it and using no chemicals that can harm your dog or cat. My cats love pine-flavored water and will drink it several times a day if it’s available. By the way, poinsettias aren’t as toxic as most people think, but mistletoe is quite bad.

Lest we forget, there is always one subtle, un-thought-of holiday hazard: our attention is generally directed in places other than our animals, so we are less likely to notice if something is up with them. If your dog vomits in the living room, you are probably going to notice it, but many pets will try to mask all signs of illness, so monitor their appetite and bathroom habits.

It is now time to go forth and enjoy the holidays. May your expectations be met and may you have no trips to the veterinary ER. I am declaring this holiday season an injury-free zone at my house, and I hope you do the same. Remember, New Year’s Eve party hats are best seen on your head, not in your pet’s x-ray.

[4:06:25 PM] Dianne Raftopoulos: