How to keep your pets safe this Christmas

How to keep your pets safe this Christmas

Author: Canadian Living


How to keep your pets safe this Christmas

Most of us consider our pets to be part of the family and want to include them in our seasonal celebrations. But here are a few holiday hazards to watch out for.

It isn't a far-fetched situation that an industrious pooch could unwrap an unopened box of chocolate sitting under the tree. While the sweet confection may provide a simple sugar rush for you, it's potentially toxic for little Rover. The effect depends on the type and amount of chocolate and the size of the dog, says Dr. Douglas A. Roberts, president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and a companion animal practitioner in Kentville, N.S. Effects can range from a little vomiting and some diarrhea for a few hours to a risk of seizure or even death. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener commonly used in baked goods and other sweets, can also be toxic and cause liver injury.

Table scraps and bones
Being fed unfamiliar foods, such as leftover turkey, may lead to gastrointestinal problems. "Dogs and cats are often on a very fixed diet, and if we make an alteration to that diet suddenly, they just don't tolerate it very well," says Roberts. And keep bones out of paws' reach as well: If ingested, they can cause obstructions or perforations in the bowel or throat.

Christmas tree
Keep glass ornaments high on the tree – hooks, fasteners and broken glass could all be ingested if an ornament is swatted off a limb. If you opt for a real tree, don't add any chemicals to the water, in case your pet decides to take a sip.

Tinsel and string
Tinsel is a favourite of cats, but if inWegested, it can block their intestinal tract. Any sort of string can be mistaken for a toy and become hazardous. Roberts once treated a cat who found a tasty treat in the string wrapped around his family's roast beef dinner.

Hide and tape them down. Your pet could be electrocuted or burned if he nibbles on one.

Poinsettias, mistletoe and holly could all upset your pet's digestive tract if consumed in large amounts.

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This story was originally titled "Life Matters" in the December 2010 issue.

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How to keep your pets safe this Christmas