Below is a number of seasonal hazards that you should be sure are NOT
easily accessible by your pet(s).
Do you recall those adorable pictures of cats playing with balls of wool? Then you won't be surprised to know that cats love tinsel, ribbons and the strings
on cat toys. Well, these fun items can be quite hazardous to your pets. When they chew on these they can become lodged (commonly at the base of the tongue or in the stomach). The intestines try to move the object along and become pleated. The linear object then begins to cut into the intestines. They may vomit food, bile and/or phlegm but some will only be depressed and off food. Sometimes they need surgery. So, try to find alternative decorations and cut those elastic strings off the cat toys.
SOME OTHER THINGS TO WATCH FOR...
- Chewing on electrical wires
- Knocking over the Christmas tree
- Shattering glass balls
- Knocking over candles
Culinary Joys and Dangers
Perhaps one of the best things about Christmas is all the wonderful chocolates and chocolate desserts - for you, not your pet. Chocolate
can be toxic to pets. Have you ever noticed that when you have had too much chocolate that you end up nervous and agitated with a racing heart? Theobromine in chocolate affects the nervous, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems of the body. This is true also for pets but the effects are much more drastic. You may see vomiting, thirst, diarrhea, restlessness, nervousness, agitation, urinary incontinence, muscle twitching, seizures and even death in pets. As little as 8 ounces of milk chocolate can kill a 10 pound dog. Don't feed chocolate to your pets!!
What else should you not feed your pet? Turkey, chicken, goose, gravy and any other high fat foods.
We know it's tempting (after all it is Christmas), but sudden changes in diet can result in diarrhea. But that's not all. Some dogs may develop pancreatitis. Older overweight female dogs are the most prone to this but any dog can develop it. The pancreas produces digestive enzymes as well as insulin. For reasons unknown, a sudden high fat diet can cause inflammation of this organ. If it's mild you may only see depression and a poor appetite. If it's more severe it causes vomiting and is extremely painful (you may see them bend down in an extended play-bow position to try and relieve the pain). Sometimes you may see bloody diarrhea, shock and even death. This condition requires medical treatment - so avoid it if you can!! And yes, cats can develop pancreatitis also but usually not as severely.
Watch out for the garbage raiders!
Those turkey and goose bones
can smell awfully good and you want to make sure that your pets cannot get into the garbage (or your neighbour's garbage) to consume them. They shatter and splinter easily once cooked and can damage the intestinal tract and possibly may even require surgery for their removal.
Beautiful and Dangerous Seasonal Plants
The red berries of Holly
are poisonous and result in muscle weakness.
are poisonous but not fatally. Some dogs are disturbed by them whereas others develop a mild stomach ache.
is poisonous to people and our pets as well. As with poinsettias, you would notice your pet having abdominal pain. The Amaryllus, Daffodils, Narcissus, Tulips and Hyacinth, often displayed at that time of the year, are all poisonous. Keep them out of your pet's reach.
Unfortunately we see this far too often. Of all poisonings, ethylene glycol results in the highest number of deaths. Lethal doses are very small for both the dog and cat. Signs depend on how much has been consumed. In the dog you may see nausea and vomiting, mild to severe depression, difficulty walking (as if drunk) and increased drinking and urination. Over time the depression will increase and the drinking will decrease. Cats are similar to dogs but tend to become more depressed and tend to drink less. Signs of kidney failure appear after 48-72 hours in the dog and 12 to 24 hours in the cat. You may see severe depression or coma, seizures, decreased appetite, vomiting, ulcers in the mouth, salivation and decreased urine production. The likelihood your pet will survive depends on the amount consumed, the rate of absorption and the time to therapy. Generally, dogs treated within 5 hours and cats within 3 hours of ingestion have a good prognosis.
For outdoor dogs, provide adequate shelter from rain and snow. Ensure fresh water and food is present. They need extra calories to maintain their weight in cold conditions. This does NOT mean that they should have extra weight in winter!