Holiday Safety Tips

Happy Holidays Everyone! The Christmas season is a wonderful time to get together & celebrate with those you love. Here are a few tips from the team at Mountain View to help make your festivities fun & safe.

Christmas Tree: Do you see your Christmas tree as the centerpiece of your holiday decorating? Well, your cat likely sees it as a fancy new scratching post, your dog sees it as a new watering hole, and both will LOVE all the fancy blinking stuff! Anchor your tree, don’t decorate with food like popcorn, make sure fragile decorations are well-secured, and keep wires out of paws-reach. If you are decorating with a real tree, the fertilizer used to keep it fresh can cause serious tummy problems if ingested, and remember to keep pine needles swept up as they can puncture intestines if eaten.

Sharing Food Scraps: Ham or poultry bones can cause intestinal blockages, high-fat foods like gravy can cause pancreatitis, stuffing can have seasonings (e.g., sage, garlic, onion powder) which are toxic, bread dough can rise in their stomachs and cause life-threatening problems, and onions can destroy red blood cells potentially causing anemia. Want to offer them a treat? Your veterinarian will have a wide assortment of healthy and tasty treats.

Unattended Food & Drinks: While you know not to share chocolate, candies and holiday drinks with your pets, that doesn’t mean they won’t just help themselves to a holiday treat! Keep dishes of candies and chocolates out of the vision & reach of your dog. Alcohol can be poisonous, so keep an eye out for unattended drinks. Once your holiday feast is over, make sure that all leftovers are cleaned-up and your garbage is secured.

Holiday Plants: If eaten by your pet, Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset & cardiovascular problems. Holly & poinsettias can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting & diarrhea. Also, many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. If you don’t usually have plants in your house and they are a novelty to your pets, decorate with non-toxic varieties or go with artificial ones.

Tinsel & Decorations: Both dogs and cats love sparkly, light-catching tinsel and ribbons which they can bat around and carry in their mouths. But if swallowed, they can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration, and possible surgery. Recovering from abdominal surgery is no way to spend the holidays!

Candles: Colourful lights are a highlight of the holiday season, except when they are from fire trucks! Lit candles can easily be knocked over by a whapping paw or wagging tail, so if you are lighting candles, be careful to never leave them unattended.

Toys: Pets love toys just as much as people! Make sure that the toys that you (or your friends and family) give your pet are good quality and won’t break. The broken pieces can be eaten and cause intestinal blockages, severe vomiting, dehydration, and possible surgery.

Educate Your Guests: Make a point of asking your guests not to feed your pets any treats or scraps. If you have that one relative who insists that there is nothing wrong with feeding your pet turkey skin, sweets, etc., because they had a pet when they were younger, show them this list.

Quiet Time: Christmas and New Year's can be overwhelming to your pet (especially cats!), make sure that they have a quiet retreat should the noise and celebration of the season be too much for them.

On behalf of everyone at Mountain View Veterinary, Happy Holidays and all the very best for the new year!

Additional Resources:

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/holiday-safety-tips

http://www.mountainviewveterinary.ca/blog/thanksgiving-safety-your-dog-and-cat

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