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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!