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Christmas and Pets

Christmas is just around the corner and hopefully this year we will be somewhat back to normal with the ability to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. One thing that won’t change is that we must be very careful of certain foods and plants that you may have in your home for the holidays.

Chocolate is very harmful and can be toxic to pets and should be kept well out of reach of your furry friends. It’s advisable to remind your children not to offer any of their goodies to your pup. You may also have wrapped candy on hand and, if your pup gets into candy, the sugar can cause a bad stomach ache or diarrhea. But even worse, if you have wrapped candy and your pet gets into it, the wrapper, if ingested, can cause serious problems with your pet such as tearing the intestines or esophagus.

Drinks at Christmas, namely alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine and other spirits, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems and bad co-ordination. These items should never be given to your pet or left on the floor by a chair or on a table where your pup may be able to get at them.

Cake batter and dough are also very harmful to your pets. Dough can “rise” in your pets’ stomach and cake batter containing raw eggs can cause salmonella infections.

You also need to be careful of food wrappings such as aluminum foil, wax paper and plastic wraps, which your pup could find and lick off any leftovers on the wrapping. If he ingests any of the wrapping, it could possibly lead to a blockage and obstruction in the intestines. Also be careful not to drop any skewers or tooth picks on the floor which have been used with food.

There are also several plants and herbs that can be dangerous to your pets. Sage is often found in our homes at Christmas when preparing our turkey, and this herb can cause a lot of upset in dogs but is even more dangerous for cats. One of the most popular Christmas plants is the Poinsettia, and many pets are drawn to the lovely red leaves and, if your pet chews on them, it will cause vomiting and severe stomach discomfort. You also need to be vigilant if you have a “natural” Christmas tree since your pup may try to grab the branches and chew on them.

Turkey and ham are the most common foods prepared at Christmas and, at this time, as well as year round, be sure that your pup doesn’t get any turkey bones. A small piece of turkey will not harm your pup, but if he has a sensitive stomach, it may cause him to be sick. Ham as well as any other pork is very hard for a dog to digest.

While not related to any specific food but as a word of caution, be sure that your pup is in his crate or safely in another room when taking hot cooked items out of the oven or off the top of the stove. Be careful you don’t trip over your four legged friend and drop hot food or liquids on him and always be sure that he can’t get on top of a table to help himself to your meal.

Stay safe, be careful and enjoy the holiday season.

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