The holiday season is an exciting time of year for everyone – even your pets. Amid all of the enthusiasm and holiday cheer, Central Veterinary Associates wants to help you take the proper precautions by providing these insightful tips in order to keep your pets safe:
● Watch your pet around the Christmas tree —Make sure the tree is properly secured in its stand so it will not fall on your pet. The water in the stand can sicken animals because of certain fertilizers or bacteria found in the water. Do not put aspirin in the water (some people place aspirin in the tree water to make it stronger). It can cause serious health problems for your pet, even death.
● Keep ornaments and tinsel out of reach —Ingestion of ornaments and tinsel can lead to serious ailments. Tinsel is a favorite of cats but, when ingested, will result in intestinal blockage. Hang the ornaments and tinsel at a height where the pet cannot reach them.
● Make sure the tree area is kept clean —Shards of glass from a broken ornament can cut an animal’s paws, mouth and body. If swallowed, it can be deadly. Pine needles from the Christmas tree can puncture an animal’s intestinal lining. If you see falling pine needles or broken ornaments, please sweep them up and throw them into the trash can.
● Put away cleaning supplies after cleaning up — In the rush to get the house ready for the holidays, pet owners might leave cleaning products within their pet’s reach. Floor cleaner, furniture polish and window cleaner are considered toxins. Be sure to place cleaning products that are not in use away in an area where animals cannot reach them.
● Watch out for holiday lighting — Pets may chew on the wiring, which will cause shock and electrocution. Keep the wiring out of the reach of pets and unplug all holiday lighting when not in use. Bubbling holiday lights contain fluids that are toxic when ingested.
● Put away children’s toys after opening them — Pets may think of children’s toys as their own personal chew toys. Small plastic pieces and rubber balls become ingested, causing blockages. These objects would need to be surgically removed.
● Keep holiday plants out of reach — Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies are beautiful, but to pets, they are poisonous and can be very dangerous. Such plants, if ingested, can cause serious health problems in pets.
● Avoid feeding human food to your pets —People love to feed their pets under the table for this holiday season, but they are unknowingly harming their animals. Chocolate contains theobromine, which, for dogs, can result in diarrhea, seizures and death. Macadamia nuts contain toxins which can affect the digestive, muscular and nervous systems of dogs. Gravy can cause pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas resulting in pain, vomiting and dehydration. Chicken, fish and turkey bones can break off and tear through the animal’s intestinal tract.
● Hold onto your drinks — Coffee and tea contain dangerous components called xanthines, which cause the damage to the dog’s nervous system or gastrointestinal tract and heart muscle stimulation. Animals are also attracted to the sweet smell of alcohol. Each year, hundreds of dogs die after a single bout of alcohol consumption. Keep such drinks out of reach.
● Give your pets some room — When meeting visitors for the first time, pets can be overexcited. Your pet may jump on the visitor or act aggressively by barking or hissing. Some pets may also urinate on the floor. When hosting a party, set up a separate area for your pets with plenty of food and water.
● Protect your pet from the elements — The weather outside is definitely frightful in the winter, especially for pets. Dressing your dog in a doggie sweater or booties is not only stylish, but protects your pet from the harsh winter weather, especially if you have a short-haired or small-breed dog. Booties prevent your dogs’ paws from frostbite. Most importantly, the rock salt should be cleaned off the booties; if ingested, it can result in vomiting.
“Reviewing these tips and taking extra precautions is essential for an enjoyable holiday for both pet owners and their pets,” says Dr. John Charos, DVM, President/CEO, Central Veterinary Associates. “Many people forget that the holidays can be dangerous for pets since it is a hectic time of year. Please keep in mind that our office in Valley Stream is open 24 hours a day and will be open on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day if your pet suddenly becomes ill.”
For more information, or to make an appointment, call (516) 825-3066 or visit www.centralvets.com.