I’m sure many of you are decorating and getting ready for the holidays and I would like to remind you of the dangers of for our pets during the holidays. Remember to think of pet holiday safety just like you would for a small child. Dogs and cats are curious of shinny objects, lights, tinsel, ornaments, and the Christmas tree itself whether it is a live or artificial tree. Many cats like to climb a tree just like if they were outside and dogs will check the trees out also. If they chew on the tree or lights that can be very serious. You can train a pet to stay away from the tree and other decorations. That is done the same way as you would teach them the “leave it” command.
Christmas plants are also dangerous for our pets so if you love to decorate your homes with poinsettias, holly and mistletoe you need to take caution with these toxic plants and keep them away from your pets. If you see any evidence these plants have been chewed on, call your veterinarian immediately for further instructions. I have a list of poisonous plants on my website if you would like to check out other toxic items for animals.
Many foods are also dangerous for your pets like chocolate, Xytilol, raisins and more.
Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee, and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.
Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol. If you suspect that your pet has ingested alcohol, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately or go to your local emergency veterinarian hospital. When you call ASPECA (888) 426-4435. it can take longer to get the information and that time can be important with many poisonous substances.
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
Nuts, including almonds, pecans, and walnuts, contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets. Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12 to 48 hours.
Milk and dairy products are not good for our pets either Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other dairy-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset. The alternative to cows milk is goats milk for it doesn’t contain lactase so the animals are able to break it down and actually benefit from the healthy nutrients especially goat milk kefir.
We love to buy our pets presents but be cautious with so many dog toys and treats on the market, it’s hard to know what to choose and to find healthy and safe gifts for our dogs. One of the main concerns is toxins in plastic and one of the prime examples are BPA’s
If you are planning to buy toys for your pets, it would be good to use toys made of non-toxic, ‘baby safe' materials that are durable and made of natural materials.
The most dangerous toys are the cheap, plastic ones made in China, where the absence of regulations poses a serious danger to your pet’s health. Watch for toys that have pieces that can be broken off and swallowed.
Many people are hesitant to feed raw chicken or turkey bones to your dogs. I was for a long time also. I have read enough now to know that if the chicken and turkey bones are raw (NOT COOKED AT ALL) they are totally safe for your dogs. I have been feeding the drumstick, neck and wings from the turkey and chicken now for over a few years and my dogs are fine. The stomach acid of our dogs is much more acid and it will digest the raw bones if the dog is able to crunch them. Femur leg bones and marrow bones are not good for they are too hard and can crack a tooth which can be very costly with the orthodontist bill. Your dog needs bones that they can actually grind with their teeth for that is also a great cleaning action on the teeth.
Granted my dogs are Golden Retrievers and a larger breed but you can feed the smaller dog these bones in smaller amounts. This Thanksgiving I bought them their own turkey and fed them everything over a period of days. Yes, that includes the back and neck. They enjoyed it and at the holidays you can find great deals on whole turkeys.
Give your dogs a treat for Christmas when turkey's are still a great price.