Holiday Precautions

Holiday Precautions

By: Judy Lore, AVHS Volunteer columnist

It’s that time of year for planning all those holiday meals. We need to be aware of
those foods our pets should not be given. The last thing we want to have to do is
call the vet because our Fluffy or Spot is having some problems. But…in case you
can’t get in touch with your vet, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control
Center at 1-888-426-4435.

Do you have your vet’s number entered on your phone or handy to get to? You might want to enter that ASPCA number as well. If your pets are like mine – an overactive one-and-a-half-year-old golden retriever – it’s always best to be prepared. Sage has never found anything she can’t get from the counter or table. Her companion, Willow, is four and much more dignified and would never stoop to sneaking food from the counter or table. There is always one who will though!

When entertaining it is a good idea to keep your pets occupied with toys in a quiet room or crate away from the festivities. All the noise and laughter may be stressful to your pet. Do inform your guests that you have pets.

Table scraps? Not a good idea, along with bones that may splinter and cause serious problems. No chocolate – toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets. No candy with the sweetener Xylitol, also called birch sugar, it’s very toxic to animals and we need to always check labels.

Some undercooked foods are harmful. Undercooked or raw fish and eggs and meats are not to be given. Ground coffee can present problems. Onions and chives and garlic are on the DO NOT FEED list along with grapes and raisins.

Now- onto the decorations for your holiday festivities. No chewing on limbs as real pine needles could cause an intestinal blockage. Be mindful of what you put around the base of the tree to keep it from drying out. Tinsel and lights need to be high enough to not be easy prey for your pets. I already had an incident with green tinsel and Sage. She grabbed it away from me and I traded her a treat for the tinsel (I’m an easy sell). But for the next two or three weeks I found green tinsel all over the house. Tiny pieces. I’m throwing that stuff away.

We already know not to leave candles burning when leaving the room. I’m using battery operated candles and only a few of those. Keep Firestarter logs away from pets who like to chew. Some dogs – like my Sage – will chew anything and these contain wax that should not be ingested. Finally. Are you still with me? No nibbling allowed on ivy, mistletoe and poinsettias. They are poisonous to pets. Have a fun and safe holiday this year.


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