Holiday Pet Care Tips
Dr. Christina Frick, D.V.M.
The holidays are a joyous time of year but there are special dangers for your pets. Here is some tips to help keep your pets safe during this special time of year.
Pet owners must pay special attention during these times to keep pets safe from foods that can make them ill- or worse. Planning for guests and cooking that big turkey with all the trimmings can cause pet owners to overlook dangerous foods their pet might be eating. It is tempting to share with our furry friends, but doing so may cause gastrointestinal upsets, and in the case of chocolate- even death. Let your guest, especially children, know why it is important to maintain the normal pet food, regular routine, and caution against giving your pet "special treats."
Avoid feeding the leftovers to your pets. Holiday foods are high in fat content and cause stomach upsets. Dogs given too much turkey can develop pancreatitis- a serious and often deadly condition. Holiday foods can also add extra calories and weight to a pet. Other potentially dangerous foods that should be avoided include onions, macadamia nuts, puddings and creamy deserts, gravies, heavy cheese sauces, broccoli, raisins, potato peelings and of course alcohol. Do not leave food unattended when pets are around.
Do not allow pets to get any poultry bones. They break off easily and pets can choke or puncture the intestines, if swallowed. Only large soup bones are safe for dogs.
Sugar is not good for animals. Pets can choke on hard candies, tinfoil, or cellophane wrappers. Tinfoil can cut their mouth or their intestines, if swallowed.
Chocolate is very dangerous. A 20-pound dog that eats a pound of chocolate can suffer hyperactivity, seizures, vomit, and even die. The active chemical in Chocolate is theobromine that has effects on the heart. Signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours, call your veterinarian immediately if your dog eats a large amount of chocolate.
If planning to take your pet when visiting relatives, contact them to find out if your pet is welcome. Because of the excitement during this season, it might be best for you and your pet to board your pet.
Have a safe Holiday season.