Tips to Prevent Christmas Emergencies

Keeping your 4 legged family members safe during the festive season can sometimes be a challenge. Ornaments, plants, presents and lights are just a few of the Christmas hazards that become veterinary emergencies. Below are some steps that will allow your pets to join in the holiday fun this year, while avoiding a trip to the veterinary clinic.

Christmas Tree Tips:

  • Place your Christmas tree in a corner, blocked off from your pet's wanting eyes and securely anchor the tree so it doesn’t tip or fall, causing potential injury to your pet.
  • Tinsel can add a nice sparkling touch to the tree, but make sure you hang it up out of your pet's reach. Ingesting the tinsel can potentially block their intestines, which is generally only corrected through surgical means.
  • Mistletoe and Holly when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Also many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
  • Keep wires, batteries and lights away from the tree's lower branches. Not only can your pet get tangled up, but your dog or cat may inadvertently get shocked by biting through the wire and cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of glass can damage the mouth and digestive tract.
  • Ornaments need to be kept out of reach, too. In addition to being a choking and intestinal blockage hazard, shards from broken ornaments may injure paws, mouths, or other parts of your pet.
  • For those buying a live Christmas trees this year, keep the area free and clear of pine needles. While they may not seem dangerous, the needles can puncture your pet's intestines if ingested.

Other Great Christmas Tips:

  • To prevent any electrical accidents, wires should be taped to the wall or the sides of the house.
  • When gift wrapping, be sure to keep your pet away. Wrapping paper, string, plastic, or cloth could cause intestinal blockages. Scissors are another hazard, and they should be kept off floors or low tables.

Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

  • By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened, but do you know the lengths a pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
  • Fatty, spicy and most human foods, as well as cooked bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won't lead to costly veterinary bills.
  • If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death.
  • Looking to stuff your pet's stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline's dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that's too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

Andergrove Veterinary Clinic does not want to ruin all your Christmas decorating fun. By all means, go crazy but make sure you do in a way that is safe for your pets this holiday season.


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