Holiday Hazards

Posted In: Feline Health & Wellness, Canine Health & Wellness

The holidays are here! Of course, you will want to include your pet in the holiday festivities, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pets are part of our family, so it’s tempting for pet owners to want to share holiday foods with their dogs and cats. However, pet owners should be aware that human foods fed, even in small amounts, can cause stomach upset in pets or, in certain instances, result in severe problems.
  • Avoid feeding pets anything they are not used to eating. Just because your pets regularly enjoy certain items from one food group does not mean they can safely eat everything else from that same group. For instance, even if your pets are accustomed to eating chicken, turkey could still make them sick.
  • Baked goods or candies containing chocolate are potentially lethal if ingested by your pet, and xylitol can cause serious issues as well.
  • Poultry and ham bones can be harmful to dogs. Chicken and turkey bones are hollow and shatter easily, causing little shards to possibly get caught in your pet’s throat.  The bones also could cause an obstruction or even perforate through the lining of the stomach or intestine. Ham bones usually contain high levels of salt which could cause stomach upset in your dog or cat.
  • Fat drippings from your turkey pan are too much for your pet to handle. Do not pour them over your pet’s food as an added treat.
  • Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, potassium, vitamin A, iron, and beta carotene. Plus, it can help with an upset stomach. But don’t overdo it. Pumpkin is a natural stool softener for dogs and cats and can cause diarrhea.
  • Make sure to secure your garbage when the meal is finished so your pet doesn’t gobble up all those leftovers while you are enjoying your after-dinner coffee.
  • Inform your guests of the rules when they arrive so they don’t try to get on your pet’s good side through food. Instead, let them give your pet one of its usual treats to help them get acquainted. Also, be sure your guests are reminded to watch the doors and gates as they enter or leave. Many pets are lost during the holiday season because they slip away through open areas.
  • Poinsettia, mistletoe and many traditional holiday plants can be mildly toxic to pets. Keep plants well out of reach or consider using artificial versions.
  • All that glitters is not gold! Tinsel, ornaments, lights and other holiday décor can be tempting and hazardous for pets. Use caution when deciding where to place decorations.
  • Pets can become easily frightened and stressed during the unusual commotion of holiday gatherings. Consider keeping your pet in a quiet area away from the festivities.

You can still make the holidays festive for your pet! Serve their usual food in a special holiday dish or buy seasonal pet treats or toys for your pet at one of the three Humane Society of Missouri Gift Shops. All proceeds from the gift shops benefit the animals and purchases are tax free!

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at two locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.