Top holiday pet dangers

Posted on December 9, 2009 under Pet Health & Safety

The holidays are a time for people to gather with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks. But it can be a hard time for our pets, with extra household hazards that may cause accidents or illnesses, especially when it comes to inappropriate foods.

During the holidays we often experience increased claims due to pets having access to holiday treats, rich foods and inappropriate foods. Here are some of the most important pet care tips for keeping your pet healthy during the holidays.

Gastroenteritis from ingesting too much food, or from eating foods pets not meant for pets, can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Keep your pets on their normal diets and avoid the temptation to give them tidbits of holiday foods. Consider buying safe approved treats to satisfy your need to give them something special.

Make sure to keep holiday food and treats, even wrapped ones, out of pets’ reach. Also, instruct guests not to give food or treats to your pets; while a single treat may not cause a problem, multiple people giving treats can.

Remember to make a special effort to keep garbage inaccessible. The smells can be alluring and pets who rummage through trash often end up eating items like string, tin foil, paper and excess bones. This can lead to gastroenteritis or even blockage of the bowels, which could mean emergency surgery!

Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, can develop from ingesting bones, fat, ham and other rich or fatty foods. Pancreatitis can be life threatening to your pet and at the very least will result in a costly emergency visit.

Chocolate poisoning is common around the holidays and Easter when chocolate treats are laying around within a pets grasp. Chocolate is toxic to dogs in certain amounts, especially dark chocolate which contains more of the toxic compound methylxanthine. In many cases it can lead to death.

Other poisons to watch out for include raisins, coffee beans, macadamia nuts, onions, and Xylitol (a sweetener used in candy, pastry and gum). All of these common holiday foods can be toxic to your pet.

Also important during the holiday season, make sure to have a quiet area for your pets when you are entertaining holiday guests. If your pet is crate trained, their crate is a great way to keep them pet safe and calm when there is a lot of strange, new activity and guests coming and going. They’ll be less stressed and less likely to get into trouble.

We hope your pet does not have an accident or illness from these pet perils, but if they do, seek veterinary attention immediately. If your vet does not take emergencies after hours or on holidays, make sure you know where the nearest pet emergency hospital is located. Follow your veterinarian’s advice and know that we will be there for you by paying 80%, after any deductible, for unexpected accidents and illnesses during the holidays and throughout the new year.

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