One down, one to go. I hope your Thanksgiving was all that you wanted it to be. Now comes what some say is the most stressful time of the year. As Christmas approaches, we face countless errands, preparations and parties…some we host, some we attend.
In our distracted state, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and uncharacteristically careless. With that in mind, here are some things to be aware of if you have pets:
• Pancreatitis: Vets treat acute pancreatitis from fat overloads more during the holidays. Major causes: pouring pan drippings from the turkey over the dog’s food, feeding the skin as a treat, or letting the dog lick plates.
• Food toxicity: Grapes, raisins, onions, alcohol and chocolate, common holiday fair, are toxic to dogs and cats. Grapes and raisins damage the kidneys, onions cause hemolytic anemia, and a component of chocolate affects the heart. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Roughly an ounce of baking chocolate per 10 pounds of body weight is lethal for dogs.
• Alcohol: Highly toxic to pets, it is absorbed slowly by dogs and intoxication takes a few hours to be apparent. Over-indulging guests often lose their good judgment, and pets could fall victim to their mischief or carelessness about leaving drinks around.
• Packaging: Cellophane wrap, aluminum foil and strings from meat hold aromas and lead to ingestion. The wrappers can cause blockages or internal bleeding, and the strings often result in "linear foreign body" when pets ingest the material.
In linear foreign body, peristalsis causes the intestine to "gather" around the string, usually a surgical emergency. If you see string protruding from either end of your pet, do not pull on it. You could lacerate or even slice through the intestine. Call your vet or the 24-hour emergency vet clinic right away.
• Food decorations: With pets in the house, it's best not to decorate with food items, which may lead to pets ingesting string, ribbon or wire. And gift-wrapped food poses similar hazards, as pets can smell food through the packaging.
• Non-food decorations: Shimmering, hangy things are irresistible to cats, which may chew them. Poinsettias will usually cause gastric upset, but holly and mistletoe can be fatal. It's a good idea to save the tags that come with your holiday plants. They usually list their scientific names, enabling quicker plant identification and saving valuable time in treating plant toxicity.
• Christmas tree stand water: Some people add stuff to keep the tree fresh, and some of the oils, pesticides and other chemicals associated with the tree may leach into the water.
• Open doors: With the doors held open for arriving or departing guests, the opportunity for escape frequently presents itself. Make sure your pets have their ID tags on, just in case.
Isolating your pets from the festivities is best. Even if dogs generally tolerate strangers, they may be less tolerant of a bunch of them, especially with all the commotion; and that could result in fear aggression or other behavioral issues.
It’s great to include your pets but you don’t want to set them up for illness or injury. Stockings full of pet treats and toys, or a special pet food garnished with some canned food are good ways to include your pets in the holiday festivities.
Photo source: Pexels
source: The Sun Chronicle
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