San Antonio Holiday Pet Safety Tips

San Antonio Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays! As you celebrate the holidays in your home this season, the caring team at Affordable Pet Care-Basse in San Antonio, TX, wants to make sure it’s not only joyful, but safe, too—especially for your pets. From decorations to toxic foods, sometimes the holidays can be dangerous for our four-legged friends, which is why we’ve dedicated this month’s blog to holiday pet safety tips. From our family to yours, we hope you and your pet have a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous new year!

Plan Your Holiday Gatherings Wisely

As you make the guest list for your holiday parties, consider your pet’s behavior. How are they around a lot of people, and how are your guests around pets? Of course, you know your fur baby better than anyone, so only you can determine if they should be included in the holiday fun or not. If your pet tends to misbehave or get a little anxious around people, keep them in a separate room where they can relax. Check on them regularly and maybe throw them a little treat or toy to keep them occupied.

If your pet is more of the social type, it’s still important to keep an eye on them around your guests, especially if you have any guests who are uneasy about pets. This is especially important if any of your guests are children who are fearful of pets or don’t know how to properly pet them. Some young children have a tendency to grab and pull everything in sight, including a pet’s fur, which may cause a pet to respond by yelping, growling, or snapping. Make sure all of your guests are well aware of your pet house rules, such as whether or not you let your pet on the couch or if you feed them table scraps. With everyone on the same page, you can prevent any holiday accidents involving your pet.

Use Caution with Plants and Decorations

Did you know there are certain seasonal plants that are toxic to pets if ingested? Mistletoe, lilies, and holly are just a few of the ones on the list. Ingesting these plants can result in gastrointestinal problems or worse for your dog or cat. As for the non-plant decorations, keep in mind that certain decorations like tinsel and ribbons can be very dangerous if ingested by your pet as well. Cats tend to love stringy items that they can paw at or chase, so it’s best to either keep these types of decorations out of your pet’s reach or not buy them at all.

Know the Do’s and Don’ts of Table Food

We know those big eyes and that soft chin resting on your knee might be hard to resist at the dinner table, but before you throw your pet table scraps, make sure you know which foods are safe and which aren’t.

On the “safe table food for pets” list are the following foods:

  • Lean meat (chicken and turkey)
  • Apples (cut in small pieces)
  • Carrots (cut in small pieces)
  • Green beans

Some of the foods you’d find on the “toxic foods for pets” list include:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Macadamia nuts

Always use caution when feeding your pet from the table, and make sure your guests do the same.

If you have any questions about these holiday pet safety tips, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment for your pet, give us a call at (210) 735-2273. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Pet Poison Hazards

Beautiful Labrador retriever playing with Christmas balls, isolated on white background

The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about a potentially poisoned pet. Below is a list of holiday-related decorations, plants and food items that the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline recommend keeping away from pets.

Holiday Ornaments:

When decorating for the season, consider your pets. Holiday decorations such as snow globes or bubble lights may contain poisonous chemicals. If your pet chews on them the liquid inside could be could be dangerous to their health. Methylene chloride, the chemical in bubble lights, can result in depression, aspiration pneumonia and irritation to the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract.

Tinsel:

If you own a cat, forgo the tinsel. What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. Tinsel does not pose a poisoning risk but can cause severe damage to a cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed. Ultimately, cats run the risk of severe injury to, or rupture of their intestines and treatment involves expensive abdominal surgery.

Plants:

Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic. Far more worrisome are holiday bouquets containing lilies, holly ormistletoe.“Lilies, including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer, Easter and day lilies, are the most dangerous plants for cats,” said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, assistant director of Pet Poison Helpline. “The ingestion of one to two leaves or flower petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure in cats.” Other yuletide pants such as holly berries and mistletoe can also be toxic to pets and can cause gastrointestinal upset and even heart arrhythmias if ingested.

Alcohol:

Because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, it affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure. Additionally, foods such as desserts containing alcohol and unbaked dough that contains yeast should be kept away from pets as they may result in alcohol toxicity, vomiting, disorientation and stomach bloat.

Holiday Foods:

With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise (and in some cases is quite dangerous) to share these treats with your pets. Keep your pet on his or her regular diet over the holidays and do not let family and friends sneak in treats. Foods that can present problems:

  • Foods containing grapes, raisins and currants (such as fruitcakes) can result in kidney failure in dogs.
  • Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias.
  • Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener which is toxic to dogs. It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure.
  • Leftover, fatty meat scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

Imported Snow Globes:

Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze(ethylene glycol.) As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size), can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy. While signs may seem to improve after eight to twelve hours, internal damage is actually worsening, and crystals develop in the kidneys resulting in acute kidney failure. Immediate treatment with an antidote is vital.

Liquid Potpourri:

Filling your house with the smell of nutmeg or pine for the holidays may seem inviting—but if you’re partial to heating your scented oils in a simmer pot, know that they can cause serious harm to your cat; even a few licks can result in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Dogs aren’t as sensitive, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry—so scent your home with a non-toxic candle kept safely out of kitty’s reach.

When it comes to the holidays, the best thing a pet owner can do is get educated on common household toxins and pet-proof your home accordingly. If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 with any questions or concerns.