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Holidays Can Be Dangerous for Pets

From scraps on the table to tinsel from the tree, the holidays can be a dangerous time for dogs and cats. Veterinarian Dr. Jim Humphries offers some safety tips for your pets.


This is the season for a reminder on pet safety. During the holidays there are many strange things that go on in our homes that are way out of our pet's comfort zone. Pets are creatures of habit (especially cats) and the varied routine, numerous decorations, visitors and unusual objects that they encounter during the holiday season can really upset their systems - not to mention be dangerous. Dr. Humphries tells us what scraps from the table is safe for pets to eat and how some common holiday decorations can harm pets. Also, he reminds viewers to keep cats and dogs away from antifreeze! Seventy eight percent of all poisoning cases for dogs and cats occur when they consume antifreeze!


The last thing a pet owner wants to do on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Holiday is take your pet to an animal emergency hospital with an injury, poisoning or even an upset stomach. Here is a list of tips of what to do and what to avoid for your pets' safety during the holidays.

No Bones


Turkey can be shared but watch out for bones. It is only natural to want to share this great stuff with our pets. While poultry meat is good for our pets, the bones definitely are not! Many pets are rushed to the veterinary emergency clinic during holiday season with bones in their stomachs. Even well cooked, baked, or stewed bones are taboo.

Hold the Spicy Foods


There will be a lot of spicy, unusual and especially tasty food around the house. Sixty percent of pet owners feed their pet from the holiday table and even include the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie! The best rule is to keep Fido's diet as stable as possible during holiday seasons. Dr. Humphries doesn't have a problem with you giving pets just a tad of white meat, after all it's hard to resist those eyes, but don't go overboard. Be sure that the pets cannot get into the trash after dinner is over. Many pets suffer upset stomachs caused by spicy food.

Other Food Taboos


Other food taboos are eggnog, alcohol, chocolate, nuts and spicy sauces and dressings. Chocolate can be poisonous, and any sudden change of diet can cause stomach pain and diarrhea.


Toxic Plants


Common Yuletide plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe, ivy and holly berries can be poisonous, possibly even fatal.

Dangerous Decorations


Decorations can be dangerous. Tinsel and popcorn strands can be deadly to pets, and glass balls can shatter in an animal's mouth. Put your Christmas tree in a flat, wide base, and consider anchoring it to the wall with fishing line for extra safety. Christmas lights can be chewed and cause electrocution. Keep wires and electrical cords out of reach whenever possible. Also, pets love to unwrap Christmas gifts especially those that contain leather goods, food and other goodies. This is serius choking hazard.

Let the Dogs Out, But Not Too Long


Sometimes it's easier to keep pets outside during a crowded party. Keep in mind, hypothermia in pets left outside during a party is common. Pets can suffer from cold stress, frostbite and hypothermia if exposed to temperatures below about 35 degrees for any given time. And, crowds of people can frighten animals. If you're hosting a party, make sure pets have a "safe haven" where they can retreat.

Don't Drink the Antifreeze


Don't let your pet get into antifreeze! Seventy eight percent of all poisoning cases for dogs and cats occur when they consume antifreeze! Ninety percent of antifreeze is used in October, November and December.

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