Doc Sez “The most wonderful time of the year”
By Darrell R Monfort DVM
This magical time of the year, the period between Halloween and the New Year; feast days galore, for us humans, but not for our pets (try to ignore those big, sad eyes). Snacks and goodies, decorations and excitement. These are the perfect ingredients for stressed and unwell pets. To help your pet enjoy a happy healthy holiday, let’s list a few of the things that should be avoided during this season.
1) Candy and sweets, Halloween leftovers, Christmas fudge, and many of the other yummy treats are not good for pets. Dogs will try to sneak these, so keep them in tightly lidded containers and out of reach. Cats will generally ignore these since they are not fond of sweets, but…
2) Rich meat, fat, skin and bones (oh, those turkey carcasses; NOT a good idea), these are cat and dog favorites. Giving pets these yummies can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and pancreatitis, as well as intestinal irritation and, bones especially, obstruction. Just say no and substitute a dog biscuit instead. No unbaked bread, rolls or cookie dough should be fed. Yeast can be deadly and raw eggs may carry salmonella. Bake the cookie and give a teeny, tiny corner if you must.
3) Holiday decorations make the dark days brighter, but they also can be dangerous for the furry folks in your household. Electric wires can be chewed causing burns to lips, mouths and gums. Decorations on tables or trees may be breakable causing cuts to feet, toxic or poisonous to lick, chew and eat or just able to be knocked or fall over causing bodily harm. (Kitty up the Christmas tree can lead to Kitty on the floor under the fallen Christmas tree). Possible toxins include some live tree additives, poinsettia leaves, and, a big hazard for cats especially, is the tinsel on the tree. This is not so much poisonous as much as a danger for blockage and intestinal disfunction. The same is true for any long ribbons or yarns that a cat may start chewing and swallowing.
4) Nuts and fruit are human favorites this time of year. Many nuts, including walnuts, pecans (my dogs love them and will lay under the tree eating them leaving the shells behind if I don’t stop them), pistachios, pine nuts, macadamia nuts and brazil nuts (all for different reasons) are dangerous and should be avoided. Some fruit, including raisins and grapes are highly toxic, as are seeds and pits from most fruits. Onion and garlic, and even nutmeg, are commonly used flavorings that are poisonous to dogs.
5) Excitement can be stressful so provide your pet a quiet sanctuary, wholesome food and clean water, especially if celebrations are happening. Remember that furry family members have the same, or more, need for warmth and shelter as we do and cold weather is on the way.
Enjoy the upcoming bright spots in our calendar. Take care of yourselves and your pets and enjoy a magical time of the year.