Midday Fix: Holiday tips for pets

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Dr. Jami-Lyn Derse

Veterinary Housecall Care

Holiday foods to avoid feeding your pet
Turkey bones can cause choking if lodged in the throat or esophagus. They also can splinter and cause ulceration or perforation in the GI tract and in some situations may cause a GI obstruction.
Bread dough will rise and expand when ingested. This can cause an obstruction. The dough will also ferment and release alcohol potentially causing intoxication.
Gravy is high in fat and can cause GI upset and pancreatitis. Clinical signs can vary from mild to severe.
Onions and garlic ingested at high doses can cause anemia. This is more common in cats.
Chocolate contains methylxanthines which cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity and cardiac arrhythmias, and even seizures at very high doses. The darker the chocolate, the higher the toxicity level.

Dangers with foreign bodies
Cats in particular love to chew on tinsel, ribbon and christmas lights. This can cause a GI obstruction called a linear foreign body. The string causes the intestines to bunch up like a drawstring causing an obstruction. This is life threatening and requires surgery.
Pets can get electrocuted if they chew on christmas lights. This causes a shock, oral burns and pulmonary edema (fluid in the chest) and also can be life threatening.
Christmas trees should be securely anchored so they do not topple over. Also avoid putting fertilizer in the water as many pets will drink it.
Candles should not be left unattended. Be sure they are on stable surfaces and in appropriate holders.

Toxic plants
Mistletoe and poinsettias can cause GI upset.

New Year’s Noise
Make sure your pets have a safe, quiet area of the house to themselves. If your pet has a noise phobia (fireworks, poppers, noise makers) talk to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications that may be helpful.

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