Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let's Keep Our Pets Safe, Happy & Healthy this Holiday Season!

Martin's Point Veterinary Hospital
Dear Pet Owners,

We would like to extend warm wishes to everyone on the Outer Banks this holiday season. As we celebrate with family and friends, let’s be sure to keep some important safety tips in mind for our furry family members. One way to be sure our pets have an enjoyable season is to do our best to eliminate potential hazards.

Plants Poinsettias, Holly, Mistletoe and Christmas trees set the tone for our holiday decorations, but we must be sure to keep these out of reach of pets.

Poinsettias, although not as poisonous as once thought, can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach leading to vomiting. Holly berries contain toxins called saponins, which leads to vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Be sure to keep mistletoe up where it belongs and out of reach of pets. It has many different varieties, but all are toxic to pets. Mistletoe can cause vomiting, liver failure or seizures depending on the variety.

Ever wonder why cat collars have a quick release? Christmas trees come to my mind! Cats love to climb these green jungle gyms, and their collars can get hung up on branches. It is best to keep cats and dogs away from the Christmas tree unless supervised. Other hazards include chewing and/or swallowing ornaments and drinking the water under the tree. Often times insecticides, preservatives and fire-retardant chemicals sit in the water feeding your Christmas tree. It is important to keep pets away from the tree either by using baby gates or closed doors unless supervised.

Electric Cords
Extension cords are used much more often this season and can be attractive to teething puppies or playful cats. Be sure to keep all extension cords unplugged or out of reach when pets cannot be supervised.

Ribbons and Tinsel
Strings and ribbons are often some of our cat’s favorite toys, but they can be dangerous if swallowed. The material can obstruct or slice through the gastrointestinal tract causing serious consequences. It is important to keep these decorations out of reach of our pets.

Holiday Food
It is often tempting to feed Fluffy or Fido bits of the holiday meal, but feeding pets foods that they are not used to eating can cause serious stomach upset or pancreatitis. It is also important to not feed leftover bones to pets due to the fact that they can lacerate or obstruct the gastrointestinal tract. Some foods that are toxic to pets include chocolate, onions, raisins and grapes. This is not a complete list but is just a few of the foods pets have access to over the holidays.

Guests / Holiday Parties
Be sure that all pets have a safe, quiet place of their own during holiday get-togethers. These times are often very stressful for pets and can lead to behavior issues if they can’t get away from the commotion. It is also a good idea to keep your pet in a safe place during parties as it can be easy for them to run away with guests coming and going.

Even when all of the proper precautions are taken, accidents can still happen. Please do not hesitate to call one of the veterinarians on the Outer Banks if you have any questions or concerns about your pet.

Happy Holidays! 
Doctors and Staff of
Martin's Point Veterinary Hospital

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