Category Archives: Holiday Hazards

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Festive Feline Faux-Pas

Welcome back for the Kingsbrook Animal Hospital‘s holiday hazards: cats edition (last week we considered holiday hazards for dogs).  There are cross-over hazards to beware of for both dogs and cats that were discussed last week, such as:

  • Blog star Johnny Blaze is back with a message for all cats everywhere: don't eat holiday plants!

    Blog star Johnny Blaze is back with a message for all cats everywhere: don’t eat holiday plants!

    watching to make sure pets are not eating people foods that can make them sick, like raw bread dough, chocolate, xylitol, and alcohol

  • being diligent about not giving in to overindulgence to prevent GI upset
  • keeping festive plants in places pets do not have access to, or considering fake plants, as many holiday plants are toxic
  • keeping medications out of reach
  • monitoring your pet’s access to the Christmas tree or if unable to do that or placing ornaments higher on the tree so they are not at a good “batting or chewing” height
  • and unplugging your electrical cords when pets are not being supervised.

    Here are some other holiday hazards that are more cat specific:

    KAH client service rep Kelly's "cousin" Buddy decides to decorate himself for Christmas! Many cats are attracted to garland and will chew or even ingest pieces of it.

    KAH client service rep Kelly’s “cousin” Buddy decides to decorate himself for Christmas! Many cats are attracted to garland and will chew or even ingest pieces of it.

    Tinsel, ribbon, and strings– Few cats are able to pass by this stuff without stopping to bat, chew or ingest it! In fact, strings are one of the top foreign bodies seen in cats year-round.
    Liquid potpourri or candles– These candles and warmers can help our homes smell wonderful during the holiday season and throughout the year, but do pose a burn risk for cats. If you have a counter-surfing cat then please unplug or blow out while the cat is not under your direct supervision.
    Finally, some cats find it thrilling to attempt to climb the Christmas tree. Create an unpleasant barrier (tin foil, double-sided sticky tape) around the base of the tree to help deter them from climbing. It is always a good idea to securely anchor your tree as well- just to be safe.
    Allowing a “safe zone” for your feline friend to retreat to as needed where it is quieter and away from the festivities can provide them with a much appreciated break.

    While you cannot always prevent emergencies from happening, we hope this list helps keep your pets safe and happy during the holidays. It can be very helpful to have your veterinarian’s phone number, as well as a local emergency hospital’s number, pre-programmed into your phone to be prepared in case of emergency. The veterinarians and veterinary staff here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD wish you and your fur babies a happy holiday season!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Top Canine Christmas Calamaties

The 2016 holiday season is here, and with the festive spirit also comes some special consideration for dog owners (come back next week for Holiday Hazards for Cats).

What would the holidays be without all the tasty treats?!  Many people are giving or receiving baked goods during the holidays, which depending on the ingredients can pose a health risk to your fur babies.  Most of us know by this point to watch out for chocolate and xylitol, but some others we might not be quite so familiar with are: raw bread dough, grapes, raisins, alcohol, and onions.

  • Overindulgence, while often originally well-intentioned, can cause severe gastrointestinal upset that may require your pet to be hospitalized.  You can try to prevent this by pre-emptively giving out some of your dog’s treats or dog food to guests to eliminate those fatty, spicy, yummy human foods and bones.

    KAH technician Katie's own Maddie says, "Pointsettias will cause GI upset (vomiting, nausea, etc.) in pets who decide to have a taste!"

    KAH technician Katie’s own Maddie says, “Pointsettias will cause GI upset (vomiting, nausea, etc.) in pets who decide to have a taste!”

  • Holiday plants- poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, lilies, and pine trees- all help to fill the home with bright colors and festive smells during the holiday season.  Mistletoe can be very toxic to animals.  Poinsettia is a holiday favorite most people falsely think of as being extremely toxic, although it can still be quite irritating to our pet’s GI systems.
  • Be sure to check to make sure any water additive for your Christmas tree is pet friendly.
  • There are often large numbers of visitors throughout the holiday season, and pets can consume medications that family and friends have brought with them. Dogs can be very curious and suitcases and luggage can be an interesting new thing for them to nose through and many are not above chomping or eating medications.

    Many medications safe for humans can be dangerous for pets. Even pet medications can be hazardous if the pet overdoses!

    Many medications safe for humans can be dangerous for pets. Even pet medications can be hazardous if the pet overdoses!

  • People often have their medications with them- sometimes even all the medications mixed together in a bag or a daily pill organizer. Keeping all medications closed in a cabinet can help keep you dog safe.  Also, asking visitors take medication in a room separate from the pets can be prudent too- this way if a pill is dropped it can be located again before your dog has a chance to eat it.
  • Traveling with a list of your medication’s name, milligrams, and the number of pills you have can be extremely helpful in an emergency ingestion situation.
  • KAH assistant Robin's Jacoby proves that curiosity isn't just for cats! Garlands, ornaments, and lights can be hazardous to unsupervised furry friends.

    KAH assistant Robin’s Jacoby proves that curiosity isn’t just for cats! Garlands, ornaments, and lights can be hazardous to unsupervised furry friends.

    Finally, ornaments, lights, and electrical cords can be enticing for your four legged friends to play with and/or chew. The dangers associated with your dogs’ playing with these can include: lacerations, electrical shock, and foreign body ingestion.

While you cannot always prevent emergencies from happening, we hope this list helps keep your pets safe and happy during the holidays.  It can be very helpful to have your veterinarian’s phone number as well as a local emergency hospital phone number pre-programmed into your phone, so if there is an emergency you are prepared. The veterinarians and veterinary staff here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD wish you and your fur babies a happy holiday season!

ASPCA Guide to a Pet-Friendly Valentine’s Day


Valentine’s Day can be as much fun for pets as it is for humans if dangerous foods, flora and other items are kept out of paws’ reach. Each year our poison control experts see a rise in cases around February 14, many involving chocolate and lilies, a flower that’s potentially fatal to cats. So please heed our experts’ advice—don’t leave the goodies lying around on Lover’s Day.

Pet-Safe Bouquets
Many pet owners are still unaware that all species of lily are potentially fatal to cats. When sending a floral arrangement, specify that it contain no lilies if the recipient has a cat—and when receiving an arrangement, sift through and remove all dangerous flora. If your pet is suffering from symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea, he may have ingested an offending flower or plant. Use our online toxic and nontoxic plant libraries as visual guides of what and what not should be in your bouquets.

Forbidden Chocolate
Seasoned pet lovers know the potentially life-threatening dangers of chocolate, including baker’s, semi sweet, milk and dark. In darker chocolates, methylxanthines—caffeine-like stimulants that affect gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiac function—can cause vomiting/diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. The high-fat content in lighter chocolates can potentially lead to a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Go ahead and indulge, but don’t leave chocolate out for chowhounds to find.

Careful with Cocktails
Spilled wine, half a glass of champagne, some leftover liquor are nothing to cry over until a curious pet laps them up. Because animals are smaller than humans, a little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm, causing vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances and even coma. Potentially fatal respiratory failure can also occur if a large enough amount is ingested.

Life Is Sweet
So don’t let pets near treats sweetened with xylitol. If ingested, gum, candy and other treats that include this sweetener can result in a sudden drop in blood sugar known as hypoglycemia. This can cause your pet to suffer depression, loss of coordination and seizures.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Don’t let pets near roses or other thorny stemmed flowers. Biting, stepping on or swallowing their sharp, woody spines can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs. “It’s all too easy for pets to step on thorns that fall to the ground as a flower arrangement is being created,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine for the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. De-thorn your roses far away from pets.

Playing with Fire
It’s nice to set your evening a-glow with candlelight, but put out the fire when you leave the room. Pawing kittens and nosy pooches can burn themselves or cause a fire by knocking over unattended candles.

Wrap it Up
Gather up tape, ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, cellophane and balloons after presents have been opened—if swallowed, these long, stringy and “fun-to-chew” items can get lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive tract, causing her to choke or vomit.

The Furry Gift of Life?
Giving a cuddly puppy or kitten may seem a fitting Valentine’s Day gift—however, returning a pet you hadn’t planned on is anything but romantic. Companion animals bring with them a lifelong commitment, and choosing a pet for someone else doesn’t always turn out right. Those living in the Manhattan area can let their loved one choose their own cat with a gift certificate to adopt from the ASPCA. If you’re not from New York, check your local animal care facility or take a romantic trip to the shelter together.

Holiday Hazards


Holiday season plants to avoid:

Lilies found in holiday flower arrangements can be deadly to your cat. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, cause acute kidney failure in cats.

Poinsettias generally have low toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias irritate the mouth and stomach, causing mild vomiting or nausea.

Mistletoe can have a cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) toxic effect. More commonly, however, mistletoe ingestion usually causes gastrointestinal upset.

Holly ingestion can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Please call your veterinarian for advice in all cases to ensure that your pet doesn’t need emergency veterinary care.

Hazards around the christmas tree:

Christmas tree water often contains fertilizers, that, if ingested, cause stomach upsets. Stagnant tree water can have extremely high bacterial content, which can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, if ingested.

Electric cords should be hidden or covered safely. If they were chewed, they could electrocute your pet.

Ribbons or tinsel can get stuck in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction if ingested.

Batteries contain corrosives. If ingested they can cause serious ulceration to the mouth, tongue and intestines.

Glass ornaments can cut the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract if ingested.

Holiday/Seasonal Hazards for our pets


Here are some things to steer clear of during the holiday and winter season!

PLANTS

Lilies- typically found in holiday flower arrangements, several varieties can be deadly to cats. Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer and Casa Blanca lilies all potentially cause kidney failure in cats.

Poinsettias- contrary to popular belief ingesting this holiday flower is not severly toxic to our pets. They can be irriting to the mouth and stomach if eaten, and therefore can cause mild vomiting or nausea.

Mistletoe- when eaten, this can often times just cause gastrointestinal upset but has the potential to cause cardiovascular problems.

Holly- vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy are the symptoms to look for if your pet eats this festive plant.

FOODS

Chocolate- in order from most toxic to least toxic- baker’s, semi-sweet, milk chocolate. Keep in mind that a lot of holiday sweets are wrapped in foil and this can also be irritating to your pets GI tract as well as a potential cause for blockage.

Alcoholic beverages (hops as well, if you are brewing at home)
Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered expresso beans)
Fatty foods
Salt
Yeast dough
Onions, onion powder
Moldy or spoiled food

HAZARDS AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE

*Christmas Tree water- sometimes contains fertilizers which can cause stomach upset. It is also a breeding ground for bacteria that can lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Also if you have a real tree- make sure it is secure to prevent pets from knocking it over.

*Electric Cords – your pet is at risk for electrocution if chewed. Avoid exposure by hiding or covering cords.

*Ribbons or Tinsel- if ingested these linear items can get caught in the intestines and cause and intestinal obstruction

*Batteries- batteries contain corrosives that can ulcerate the mouth, tongue, and the rest of the GI tract.

*Glass ornaments- Can cut the mouth, tongue and rest of the GI tract if eaten. If your pets seem interested in ornaments- a suggestion would be to decorate the bottom third of the tree with wood or plastic ornaments that won’t break.

*Burning Candles

OTHER WINTER HAZARDS

Antifreeze- unfortunately, antifreeze tastes sweet to pets, and very small amounts of it can be lethal. If you think any amount (even just a teaspoon) has been ingested by your pet, contact your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately ( 1-888-4ANI-HELP).

Liquid potpourris- some types can result in severe oral, skin, or eye issues

Ice Melting products- can be irritating to skin and mouth. Symptoms include excessive drooling, vomiting, and lethargy.

Rat and Mouse killers- used more commonly during cold weather. Just make sure they are in places your pets can not reach them.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips


‘Tis the season for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink.

Check out the following tips from ASPCA experts for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

Talkin’ Turkey
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage Advice
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delish, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

A Feast Fit for a Kong
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them rawhide strips, Greenies or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy. www.aspca.com

The veterinarians and staff of Kingsbrook Animal Hospital would like to wish everyone a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Holiday Hazards


Holiday seasons are a time of celebration with friends and family-furry, four-legged ones included. But colder weather, decorations and parties can create safety hazards for pets. Make sure your holidays stay festive with these simple tips to keep your pet healthy and safe.

* De-icing products, salt and ice can get into fur and paws, causing skin irritation or more serious conditions. Wipe your pet’s paws and tummy when he comes in from the cold. Take care to wipe up spilled antifreeze-dogs and cats like the sweet taste and can ingest deadly amounts. Better yet, use pet-friendly asnitfreeze products.

* Keep holiday decorations out of your pets reach. Ingestion of glass, metal, ribbons or tinsel can lead to serious medical emergencies. Also, snow globes and artifical snow contain chemicals that can be harmful to pets if ingested or inhaled.

* Place live holiday plants high off the ground. Pretty as they are, ivy, holly, mistletoe, pointsettia, lillies and Christmas greens can all be toxic to animals when ingested.

* Everyone loves a party, but sometimes the hustle and bustle of holiday guests can frighten animals and cause them to run away. Designate a quiet, secure room for your pets away from the crowd and be sure that your pet is microchipped and wearing a collar with current ID tags.

* Fatty holiday meats can cause a number of gastrointestinal problems while bones can cause bowel obstructions or choking. And remember: no chocolate for pets. The sweet stuff contains a chemical that is highly toxic to pets.

The doctors and staff of Kingsbrook Animal Hospital wish your family a safe and happy holiday season.