Holiday treats for humans are often dangerous for your pets. Turkey and ham drippings, mixed with seasonings, are likely to upset pets’ digestive systems. Meat leftovers are too rich for animals who are used to a dry food diet. Consumption of human food can also lead to begging, an aggravating habit which is hard to break.
Bones, especially from poultry, are dangerous because they splinter easily. Each year, thousands of pets are treated for consumption of splintered bones, causing pain and sometimes death.
Candy, especially chocolate, is often fatal to pets, particularly cats, if consumed in large quantities. Wrapping paper, ribbon and confetti can wreak havoc on animal digestive systems.
Decorations are also lethal. Angelhair (spun glass) can cause irritation of the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract. Tinsel, when ingested, can mean a visit to emergency. Artificial snow has toxicity if inhaled. Hang ornaments with string or ribbon, not metal hooks, which can be accidentally ingested by animals while playing with brightly colored balls.
Resist the temptation to tie ribbons around pets’ necks for Christmas. These can tighten and choke the animals, or can be chewed off and swallowed.
Seasonal plants, like Pointsettias, are poisonous to pets, if chewed and swallowed. New Years brings more hazards, like noisemakers, which alarm animals, and may make them bolt out an open door or window.
Don’t give pets as gifts! Bringing a new animal into your home at such a busy time can cause stress for the animal and children. Give a certificate to a shelter to go choose a pet in the new year.
When walking dogs in winter, keep them close or on leash, because ice and snow cause them to lose their scent and they can become lost. If the dog has short hair, protect them with a coat which covers their back and belly. Wipe off the dog’s feet and stomach when they come in. Salt and other chemicals could make your pet sick if licked off and swallowed. Paws and pads are sensitive and may bleed from sharp ice crystals.
Feed dogs well to keep their fur thick and healthy if they are spending lots of time outdoors. Make sure outdoor dogs have a safe, warm and dry place to sleep. Older dogs suffer from arthritis, like people do, and feel the weather more as they age.
Don’t leave pets in a cold car, which acts like a refrigerator, and is just as dangerous as leaving them in a hot car in summer. Leave them home, or take them with you on your activities.
Keep cats indoors. Outside cats can become lost or injured, or suffer frozen ears and feet, and starve to death.
Contact PAWS at 250-428-7297, www.paws-crestonbc.org