Every year, for every holiday, veterinarians dread the day after the festivities because of the side effects our animals face from our celebrations. Here are some ways you can help to prevent your animal getting sick or injured during the holidays (and throughout the year) and save yourself the emergency fees:
For chocolate-friendly holidays like Halloween, Valentine’s Day and Easter, keep the chocolate out of reach of your pets! Chocolate toxicity is one of the most common toxicities around these holidays.
Family giving you a headache? Dogs and particularly cats are susceptible to toxicity from NSAIDs such as Tylenol. Never give any human medications to your pets without first discussing it with your veterinarian.
Having a big ham for Easter or turkey for Thanksgiving? Excellent, enjoy it yourself, but don’t feed table scraps to your pets. This means making sure your guests are following these same rules. Eating human food can lead to a gastrointestinal upset or a painful condition called pancreatitis. Some human foods such as onions can be toxic to your pets as well, even in small amounts. If you have a garbage diver of a pet, make sure you take out the trash before they can get their paws on the leftovers!
Your holiday decorations can be absolutely irresistible to your pets. Tinsel is just so sparkly and dangly hanging up on the tree, how can a kitty resist? Ingesting tinsel can lead to an emergency situation called a linear foreign body in which the intestines bunch up, which requires surgery. Sparkly Christmas lights can also be a danger, as they are enticing and have an electric current running through them. If your pet chews on your holiday decorations, maybe it’s best to keep them out of the room or put the most enticing decorations away.
Certain plants that pop up around the holidays can be toxic for your pets. Easter Lilies in particular come to mind for me, as they can cause severe kidney failure in cats from ingesting any part of the plant including just a small amount of pollen. Before bringing new plants in for the holidays, make sure you do a bit of research.
The Merck Veterinary Manual website is a great resource for what is toxic for your pets. There’s a great list of toxic plants, and a list of human food to avoid. Everyone please have a wonderful holiday season, and make sure to keep your pets safe!