Along with human foods to avoid, here are some other hazards to be aware of for pets over the festive season.
Cats often love to play with tinsel, string or ribbon, but if ingested this can get caught around the tongue or in the stomach and cause severe damage to the intestines. Other Christmas ornaments can cause intestinal blockages if swallowed. Christmas lights can cause electrocution or burns if chewed.
Poinsettias can cause drooling, vomiting and diarrhea if chewed or ingested by pets, so ensure they are well out of reach. Holly and mistletoe can also cause stomach upsets. Remember other decorative flowers can be highly toxic to pets – for example Lilies can cause severe kidney failure in cats from even just licking the pollen off their fur.
Some pets can be terrified of fireworks and thunder and may cause injury to themselves trying to escape. Ask your vet for advice on how to manage these phobias and plan ahead if you know these events are coming up.
Remember that pets sometimes get stressed by all the excitement of visitors and parties. Ensure that your pet has a quiet, safe area to retreat to if they feel overwhelmed. Make sure children are supervised around pets at all times, and advise visitors to keep doors/gates closed and keep their handbags/medications out of reach of pets.
Heat stress can be life threatening. Avoid exercising your pet during the heat of the day, ensure your pet always has plenty of fresh water and a cool, shaded area to rest, and always test the temperature of pavement/roads before going for a walk (even after the sun has gone down) – if it is too hot for you to walk on in bare feet, it is too hot for your pet’s paws! Older or overweight pets, pets with heart/lung/kidney problems and pets with short noses (pugs, bulldogs, etc.) are at a higher risk of heat stress and extra care is needed. And NEVER leave pets in the car unattended – even on mild days.
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