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For Pets, All That Glitters is Not Gold During the Holiday Season

Seasonal hazards for pets. Things to be aware of when decking the halls.

'Tis the season to deck the halls with boughs of holly

Holiday decorations look pretty, and the foods taste great, but both can be a health hazard to your pets. 

The staff at the Kensington Veterinarian Hospital want you and your pets to have a healthy and happy holiday season. 

These are the top ten hazards to keep in mind when it comes to the holidays and your pet's health:

1. Plants and flower - pretty, but toxic

Poinsettia plants have a reputation for being poisonous, but according to the Pet Poison Helpline they are only mildly toxic. Other plants pose a much bigger concern: lilies, mistletoe, holly berries and rosemary can all be toxic to dogs and cats. Inspect all floral bouquets before they come into the house. If you suspect that your pet has ingested toxic plants, call your veterinarian immediately.

2. Tinsel town

Tinsel, garland and ribbons can be very attractive to pets, especially cats. However, ingesting tinsel can result in a severe linear foreign body. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, "a linear foreign body occurs when your cat swallows something stringy which wraps around the base of the tongue or anchors itself in the stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. As the intestines contract and move, this string or linear foreign body can slowly saw through the tissue, resulting in severe damage to your pet’s intestinal tract." Again, if you suspect that your pet has eaten any stringy holiday decorations, call your veterinarian immediately.

3. Just say no to chocolate

Delectable chocolate treats are more abundant at this time of year and are often served on a table where pets can easily gain access. Be careful to keep chocolate out of reach or have someone stand guard around the dessert table.

Candy canes hung on a tree are ripe for the picking for dogs on the lookout for treats. Sugar, in any amount, is not good for animals. 

4. Old decorations

Older or antique tree ornaments decorated with lead paint are a potential danger to pets and young children who see them as toys to play with and put in their mouths. If you suspect your tree decorations might have lead paint, place those ornaments high and out of reach.

5. Tree climbing enthusiasts

For the adventurous cat who likes to climb, the Christmas tree might be his or her Mt. Everest: "I climb because I can." Stories of cats toppling Christmas trees are the stuff of family folklore, so beware.

Also remember that a tree brings lights and cords. Some cats might play with and/or chew through electric cords, so be on the lookout for those behaviors.

7. Candle lit moments

Lit candles can accidentally get knocked over by a cat or dog, so stay alert. Never leave candles lit when out of a room for an extended period of time.

8. Just say no to bones 

Whether serving turkey, goose, ham or lamb, most cooked bones are not good for pets to eat. Restrict your pets’ access to the trashcans once bones have been thrown out. For many dogs and cats, that which is garbage to us is a buffet to them.

10. Table treat and more

We all know that human food is not good for pets. When Aunt Edna, Uncle Harry and other family members visit, let them know the rules regarding giving human food to your pets. For many people, giving a sneak treat under the table is fun. But the animal can experience gastrointestinal issues if everyone is doing so.

Do you or others buy holiday treats for your pets? Yes, it's Christmas and everyone should get a treat or two, but watch the amount and control when and who gives the treats to the pets. Too much of a good thing is often not a good thing

If your pet is already on a strict diet, let friends and family know that a healthier gift would be a new toy, collar or leash.

We want to hear from you. What do you keep your eye on to ensure that you and your pet have a healthy and happy holiday?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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