Many families will start unloading Christmas decorations from the attic this week to spruce up their homes for the holidays. From tinsel to trees, holly and ornaments, those merry and bright decorations create holiday hazards for pets.
If you want to have a jolly holiday, veterinarian Jae Chang with Farr Veterinary Hospital in Lake Charles says it is time to sharpen your senses with what is and is not safe for your inside pets - starting with festive plants. "Holly and mistletoe can cause them to have severe gastrointestinal signs and also cardiovascular issues," he said.
Ingesting holly and mistletoe can really make your pet sick. The same can be true for poinsettias, but a large amount would have to be consumed. "It's not that toxic to pets," said Dr. Chang, "the white sap that is in the poinsettia, it is a mild irritant to the mouth and the oral cavity."
Now to Christmas trees, real and fake. Decorations, like ornaments, can be dangerous if broken and swallowed. Tinsel and ribbon can also be tempting to playful pets. "Cats love those crinkly sounding things and then when they swallow them, it causes the intestines to plicate or crinkle up, almost like an accordion," said Dr. Chang.
Real trees are safe, but it is not okay for your pet to drink the tree's standing water. "The bacteria overgrowth that is associated with that stagnant water can cause more GI problems," said Dr. Chang.
That can cause major stomach upsets. So can holiday table scraps, that can lead to pancreatitis in pets. "The foods that we eat tend to be a little fattier than the dog food they're used to," said Dr. Chang, "so it causes the pancreas to overwork and get inflamed."
To be emergency vet visit free, Dr. Chang says keep these potential holiday hazards out of reach of your four-legged family members.