Taking care of your pets during the holidays means extra kisses and hugs, (those are the best gifts), and being aware of potential holiday hazards... Delicious food, sparkly decorations and colorful plants that make the holidays so much fun for us can be dangerous to your dog. No reason to be bah-hum-dog, just be on your toes.
Here are a few examples:
Rich, fatty foods can seriously upset your dog's stomach and even be toxic. It is especially important to keep your dog away from the following dangerous foods:
- Onions, which can cause anemia, (high levels of garlic can, too).
- Chocolate, especially the dark, (look out for those with high percentages of cacao).
- Bones, (especially cooked bones and ANY poultry bones).
- Alcoholic beverages, (REALLY, I will never forget treating two quite intoxicated Boston Terriers).
- Any foods high in fat, sodium and/or sugar, (and in Hawaii, avocado pits are a huge danger to our pets).
There are some human foods that are okay for dogs, so if you want to give Fido a special treat you have some options. Try a small piece of cooked turkey or chicken without skin or bones, (and hold the gravy). Raw carrots and apples in moderate amounts are actually healthy for dogs. Just remember - everything in moderation. Well, that goes for us too but I am getting hungry just writing this...
Most dogs are curious by nature, so they will want to check out any additions to the decor. Sniffing can lead to chewing, or even ingestion of foreign objects. Keep electrical cords tucked away and other decorations or holiday plants out of reach. Watch out for dangling objects that can be pulled down and cause injury. Also, if you have a Christmas tree, don't let your dog drink the tree water - it can upset their tummy.
Bright, ornamental plants are a great way to dress up the house during the holidays. Pet owners should be aware, however, that many of these common plants are poisonous to pets. Toxicity ranges from mild to severe, and the amount of plant consumed determines how sick a pet may become. In general, gastrointestinal upset is the most common finding, but if enough plant material is ingested, seizures, coma or death is possible. Naturally curious puppies may want to sample some of the "new-in-the-house" greens. Dose is size-dependent, so puppies are most often at greatest risk for plant poisonings, but dogs in general love to munch on green goodies.
Plants that can cause illness include Poinsettia, Mistletoe, Lillies, and Daffodils. Common clinical signs are related to the gastrointestinal tract - vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes excessive salivation. In some cases, such as holly berry ingestion, tremors or seizures may be seen, followed by coma and death. Monitor your pet's interest in the plants. To be 100% safe, if your Fido is a serious muncher, DO NOT bring toxic live plants into your home. You can also check the plants for any signs of chewing or missing leaves. If unsure, plastic plants are an option but remember they can eat those too (my next blog - intestinal foreign bodies!)
Ho, Ho, Ho, Woof, Woof, Woof,
Shae Martin, DVM