Christmas and Your Pet

by on September 17th, 2010
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A lot of us spoil our pets at Christmas. They get special foods, more catnip than usual and maybe even a stocking of their own for Santa to fill. It can also be a dangerous time for pets. Some of the things we bring into our homes or leave out can cause serious harm to them.

Chocolate: Both cats and dogs are affected by chocolate. Theobromine is the poisonous quality, and it doesn’t take a lot for problems to develop. It’s a good idea to keep this sort of candy out of reach, if possible. If you suspect that one or more of your pets has been eating it, call your vet and follow his/her instructions.

Grapes/raisins: Santa always brought big bowls of fruit to our house, including grapes. Thankfully, none of our dogs were even remotely interested. Both grapes and raisins are fatally toxic to dogs. It doesn’t take much for either a huge vet bill or the death of a beloved family member.

People: We do a lot of visiting at this time of year. Whether it’s a friend dropping by to say hi or a full fledged party, it will affect your animals. Some can handle the attention well and others become very defensive. A few are frightened and go find a hiding place at the first sound of a strange voice. If you know guests are coming, you may want to take steps prior to their arrival so that your pet is safe and happy…and not biting your guests.

Plants/trees: A lot of greenery comes inside at this time of year. Most of it is uninteresting as food, but very interesting as a toy. There is one bit of greenery that can be very dangerous, and not just to pets. Children who eat this can also be poisoned.

Mistletoe is often hung so that a lot of kissing can take place. Unfortunately, it’s extremely poisonous. It lowers blood pressure, and in a pet or small child, that can be deadly. This is an emergency issue and should be taken care of appropriately. Take the pet to the vet and the child to the ER.

Tinsel: We learned this the hard way. Our cat loves to chew on plastic, especially if it crinkles when he bites it. This habit of his cost us about eleven hundred dollars a week before Christmas. He’d eaten a bunch of it without us knowing it, and almost died. As you can imagine, tinsel is banned from the house.

Christmas time can be a lot of fun, even for our pets. We have to step up to the plate and make sure that the fun they have doesn’t end up killing them.

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