June 20, 2018
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Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Why Are You Eating The Christmas Tree?

Dr. Cathy DeJesus
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December 5, 2017

Holidays are great times for friends and family to get together, give thanks, give presents, eat lots of food, catch up and reminisce on the good old days. These are also good times for our furry family members to get in a heap of trouble (those silly little whippersnappers). These are some possible hazards during the holiday seasons.

Tinsel, ribbon and string: These are lovely materials that make presents and trees pretty. Pets think so too. Our furry family members, especially cats, are attracted to the shiny tinsel, ribbons and string that adorn holiday trees and packages. However, these items can be deadly if swallowed. They can bunch and cause intestinal blockage, even perforation, often with deadly results for the cat. In these situations, you will often see vomit, decreased appetite, constipation or decreased stools and even lethargy.

Mistletoe, holly, poinsettias: Mistletoe can be very toxic and even fatal if ingested by pets. Holly is considered moderately toxic in small amounts, causing vomiting and diarrhea when ingested, and fatal in large amounts. Poinsettias are mildly poisonous to cats and dogs, usually causing stomach and intestinal irritation, which leads to vomiting and diarrhea.

Toy parts/glass ornaments: Dogs in particular are prone to eating toy parts that are left around the house, especially due to increased stress from all the changes that occur around the holidays. These can cause life-threatening intestinal obstructions. Ornaments can cut the tissues of the intestines if ingested.

Foods/drinks: There are many foods that can cause problems in pets. Be mindful of the most common ones like chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, nuts, fatty foods, yeast dough, coffee, xylitol (artificial sweetener) and alcoholic beverages.

Christmas tree water: It may look funny or practical when pets drink from the Christmas tree water, but that water may contain fertilizers. If ingested, this can cause upset stomach. Also, stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause vomiting, nausea and diarrhea if ingested.

Electric cords: If chewed, cords can electrocute your pet and cause thermal burns. Cover up or hide electric cords; never let your pet chew on them.

Batteries: If batteries are ingested, pets don’t turn into the energizer doggie or kitty. Instead, the batteries cause ulceration to the mouth, tongue, and the rest of the stomach and intestines, which can be deadly.

Potpourris: Exposure to some types of liquid potpourris can result in severe oral, skin and ocular damage. Dry potpourri mostly causes problems due to stomach/intestine blockage and toxin ingestion.

Open Flame: Just blow the candle out, or use electronic/flameless candles. Sparkie may create a bigger candle (your home) by whacking it over with his tail.

If you are concerned that your pet has ingested something dangerous, contact your veterinarian right away. We understand that holidays are busy, but delay of treatment could be deadly. Do not try to give a remedy at home as there is potential to cause more harm than good.

Call us at 410-360-7297 and come see us at Calvert Veterinary Center (4100 Mountain Road in Pasadena) if you have any questions or concerns.

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