Curious pets may get into mischief and hurt themselves while investigating new decorations around the house. Cats may try to climb Christmas trees and both cats and dogs may try to ingest pieces of the tree, ornaments, and tinsel which can result in gastrointestinal upset or obstruction. Chewing on lights and electrical cords may result in burns. Holiday plants, such as Amaryllis mistletoe, pine, cedar, poinsettias, and holly can be dangerous or toxic if ingested. You can look up specific plants to see if they are toxic on the ASPCA webpage.
We enjoy many tasty foods and treats during the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean they are safe for our pets. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, and onions are all considered toxic to pets and any dish containing them should not be fed to your pet. In fact, you should avoid giving any table scraps or people food to your pets at any time because they can cause pancreatitis, even in small amounts. Pancreatitis can be life-threatening and causes severe diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and abdominal pain after a pet eats rich/fatty foods or any food he/she is sensitive to. Xylitol is another toxic food hazard for pets and has been linked to liver failure and death in some dogs. Xylitol can be found in some baked goods, candy, gum, and even some brands of peanut butter. The safest strategy this holiday season is to continue feeding your pet’s regular diet, avoid sharing your yummy holiday food and treats, and make sure your pet can’t get into the trash!
Although holiday parties are fun for us, they can be a source of stress for our pets because of new people and noises. You should set aside a private, quiet area where your pets can go to get away from all of the commotion. An example would be a room with a crate and some favorite toys. If you know your pets will be stressed during a particular event, you may want to put them in their private space or crate before people arrive. Make sure your pets have a collar with identification and/or microchip and watch your pets closely so they don’t escape when people are coming and leaving. If you feel like your pet has severe anxiety during these situations, you can call us to discuss trying situational anxiety medications.
As always, please monitor your pets very closely this holiday season. If they get into anything that concerns you, please call us right away, 217-529-4499. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
Written by: Dr. Lyndsey Houmes