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The Holidays And Your Pets

by Barry KuKe
Halloween is behind us, and hopefully, your pets didn’t get into any of the candy, especially the chocolate bars and kisses. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and cats primarily because of its theobromine content, which they are unable to metabolize effectively. If your pet eats chocolate, you should monitor them closely and seek veterinary attention if they show any symptoms or are very young, pregnant, or have other health concerns.

I once had a Black Lab named Winston that ate a large plateful of chocolate brownies. I called our vet at the time, and he said to give him a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and keep him outside because he would vomit quickly. About thirty minutes later, I called the vet again and told him that Winston did not vomit yet. The vet instructed me to give Winston two tablespoons this time. Another thirty minutes went by, and still no vomit.

I called the vet again, and this time he said, “if that dog hasn’t thrown up from that much hydrogen peroxide, then he probably isn’t going to, and he’ll be fine.” Winston was fine. However, he was also a very large Lab, over 100 pounds. It is best to keep your dogs and cats away from chocolate because in-gestion can be lethal in many cases.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast-approaching, and many other hazards come along with these holidays that can make your pet very sick and, in some cases, can be deadly.

Here are some tips from the ASPCA on how to make your holidays as safe for pets.

Securely anchor your Christmas tree, so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.

Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Instead, try just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Kitties love tinsel. This sparkly, light-catching toy that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. A nibble can lead to a swallow, leading to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration, and possible surgery.

Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. If you leave the room, put the candle out!

Keep wires, batteries, and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock, and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus. At the same time, shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

As mentioned, do not feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol. Make sure to keep your pets away from the table, unattended plates of food, and garbage cans.

Fatty, spicy, and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends.

If your celebration includes adult holiday libations, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill, and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death.

As always, please adopt, don’t shop.

Barry KuKes is the Community Out- reach Director for the Halifax Humane Society. You can reach Barry at 386. 274.4703, ext. 320, or BarryK@halifax humanesociety.org