Holiday Pet Safety
Working as an emergency vet for over a decade makes you realize that the holidays are a target rich environment for your pet to end up in the emergency room. The following are a few simple steps you can take to prevent such expensive accidents because no one wants to end up in the ER veterinary clinic over the holidays!
Human food can be toxic to pets – Just because we enjoy holiday food does not mean you should share it with your pet, lots of human foods are toxic to pets. Onions, garlic, chocolate, desserts containing Xylitol (see previous blog post), macadamia nuts, grapes, and raisins.
Decorations – They look great on the tree but not so much when I’m surgically extracting them from the intestines. Ribbons and tinsel are especially dangerous for cats, the ribbon can get stuck under the tongue and then they swallow the ribbon. As it sits there the intestines try and move the ribbon down the digestive track but it can’t move so it ends up sawing through the intestines instead. Real mistletoe and holly are very poisonous to cats. Poinsettias are not as toxic as perceived, they usually just cause mild intestinal upset. Chewing on a string of lights can cause electrocution which could lead to life-threatening fluid accumulation in the lungs up to 24 hours after.
Taking pets to relatives houses – Every holiday without exception I’m usually trying to piece back together a little dog that visited a relative’s house and tried to act like he was boss. The smaller dogs have big attitudes but usually end up getting really hurt because they (or the dog they are visiting) have not been properly socialized. Sadly many dogs have been killed this way and it’s really not the way you plan to spend the holidays.
Boarding and Traveling – don’t wait until the last minute to make arrangements for boarding, any good facility should require current vaccines. If you are traveling to a different state, country, or if you are flying you may need a health certificate which also requires current vaccines and a visit to your veterinarian within 10 days of travel. If traveling in the car make sure to always have updated identification on the pet’s collar and a microchip in case they escape from the car, hotel, or rest area. It might be a good idea to leave their leash attached so they are easier to catch if they dash from the car.