Holiday temptations are not limited to just children, adults and guests! Pets should be on the list as well.  While you are busy decorating, cooking, and wrapping gifts, remember to also keep your four legged best friends safe as too.

christmas_cat-3Holiday Plants  – For example, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) typical holiday time plants such as poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe can cause some major distress when eaten by some pets. Poinsettias can irritate your animal’s mouth and stomach and may cause vomiting and diarrhea.  Toxic chemicals in mistletoe can affect the heart and cause low blood pressure and slowed heart rate, especially if you pet eats a large amount. Holly is not as harmful but can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and decreased activity when eaten by cats or dogs.

Tinsel and Ribbons can also attract pets who may play with these items and eat them!   This can cause upset stomachs and possible intestinal damage.  Make sure to keep these out of reach.

Of course everyone likes TREATS!  But make sure your pets don’t quickly try to eat all of christmas-pet-26566587181_b1a41e4222_bthem at once!  Eating too much or too fast can cause swallowing problems, choking and stomach distress. It is possible that vomiting, diarrhea, and serious pain can show up hours or days later and indicate a very serious condition. Make sure to contact your veterinarian in such cases.

People food can also present problems for pets. Rich, fatty foods can cause gastrointestinal upset and possibly life threatening illness for your dog.  Be mindful of pet access to food, leftovers, and the trash can and steak bones disposed there.

Chocolate can be dangerous to your dog and cause serious complications or death. Likewise, seemingly harmless mints can quickly cause life-threatening problems for your dog if they contain xylitol.  Xylitol is often found in candy, gum, some peanut butter, baked goods, and toothpaste and mouthwash. christmas-pet2137548043_2a332fcb59_bIngesting xylitol can result low blood sugar for dogs and lead to staggering, incoordination, collapse, and seizures. If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate or xylitol-containing items, consider it an emergency and call your veterinarian immediately.

Finally, make sure to also keep alcohol (including that in eggnog) away from pets.

Enjoy the holidays with your family and best friends – but remember to take some extra precautions to protect pets!  Read more about it here: Keep Your Dogs and Cats Safe From Holiday Hazards

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