Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Best Holiday Gift for Pets: Keep ‘Em Safe from Accidental Poisoning
We’re all for keeping holiday spirits high with fancy decor and bow-topped presents galore, but the best gift you can offer your pets this season is to steer them clear of unhealthy foods, dangerous decorations and holiday plants that can be toxic.
Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA'S Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital and author of Vet Confidential: An Insider's Guide to Protecting Your Pet's Health reports, "Over the holidays, veterinary hospitals often see an influx of pets affected by a variety of seasonal hazards, from cats vomiting after swallowing ribbons to dogs who’ve indulged in pilfered chocolates. It's important to keep our animal companions safe when celebrating."
The following tips will help keep everyone—furry and two-legged—in good cheer:
O Christmas Tree: 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.
Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
Toy Joy: Stuff your pet’s stockings with gifts that are safe:
- Many a dog has been known to tear her toys apart and swallow the pieces, which can become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, digestible chew treats or Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods.
- Ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in a cat’s intestines often necessitate surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer—and tons of play time together.
Forget the Mistletoe & Holly: When ingested by pets, mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
For more poison prevention tips, please visit ASPCA online.