Winter is by far one of the most magical times of years for families, friends and even furry companions. However, just as there are certain traditions that may put humans at risk, there are some holiday traditions that could prove to be potential hazards for your four-legged friends. Before you delve too deep into the winter and holiday season, here are a few things to keep in mind if you're a new pet owner:
Keep an Eye on the Foods that You Serve
Baked goods are staples of the holiday season. However, you need to be careful that these are not shared with your furry companions. You also need to make sure everyone in the house knows not to share the sweet treats with the animals in the house. There are some specific foods to pay extra special attention to.
These include chocolate, which can result in vomiting and diarrhea with small amounts and seizures and heart arrhythmias in large amounts. In rare cases, large amounts of chocolate consumption can result in the animal's death. Dogs tend to be more susceptible to the chemical toxicity of chocolate than cats. Grapes and similar foods (raisins) can cause dogs (not cats) to suffer from dehydration, lethargy, diarrhea and eventually kidney failure, if not treated.
Be Careful with the Plants You Choose to Display
Holly and mistletoe are two types of plants that are very popular at Christmastime. However, if you have pets inside the home, then you need to reconsider. Holly is mildly to moderately poisonous to cats and dogs. It can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Your pet will likely drool, smack and shake its head when it has ingested holly. More often than not, your pet will likely lose its appetite. Mistletoe is the same level of toxicity for cats and dogs. When ingested in small amounts, it can result in vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and stomach pain. However, larger amounts can cause low blood pressure, abnormal heart rate, drunken walking, collapse, seizure and potentially even death.
Tinsel isn't necessarily "toxic" per se, but it is incredibly dangerous. If your pet ends up consuming some of the tinsel, the decoration could bunch up and twist inside the intestines causing serious injury that could require expensive surgery to remove the tinsel. Your pet will likely lose its appetite, become weak, vomit and paw at the mouth.
If see any of the aforementioned symptoms regarding any of these holiday dangers, it is imperative that you contact a local veterinarian immediately. Alternatively, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. For questions about wintertime dog care, contact your pet's veterinarian.