Tahoe Humane Society: Christmas and holiday pet tips
First let’s tackle the “to eat a Christmas tree or to not eat a Christmas tree” issue. The tree itself is not particularly dangerous if a few needles are ingested — it will most like come right up via kitty or doggie vomiting.
The bigger concern is the stagnant tree water as it is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea and/or diarrhea should they drink it. Speaking of the Christmas tree, make sure you securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet.
Lastly and most importantly, the biggest no-no with your Christmas tree is the tinsel. Kitties and doggies love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your branches with something other than tinsel.
If you suspect your pet has ingested tinsel or anything else from the Christmas tree, contact your veterinarian right away, the sooner the better. Obstructions that go untreated are often fatal.
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Now that we have covered the Christmas tree and determined it is basically safe, there are some holiday plants that are not safe at all. Forget the mistletoe and holly. When ingested, these can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal issues and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
Regarding all the yummy treats we eat over the holiday season, by now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
Also fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry family member.
When it comes time for that holiday party, take care of fluffy. If your pets are people friendly and your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention while you are busy tending to the party, tell them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session. However, it is a good idea to give your pets a room of their own, a quiet place to retreat complete with water, food and a comfy place to snuggle.
Important note: Make sure all pets (even your indoor-only ones) have collars and tags with correct contact information. With all the activity around the holidays, it’s easy for them to slip out and get lost.
Have fun and be safe this holiday season,
Hopeful Henry is a column managed by Niki Congero, executive director of Lake Tahoe Humane Society & S.P.C.A. Need some pet advice? Ask Hopeful Henry. Submit questions or letters via e-mail to AskHenry@LakeTahoeHumaneSociety.org or by mail to P.O. Box PET South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. For more information, visit Facebook.com/LakeTahoeHumaneSocietySPCA, Facebook.com/Hopeful.Henry or Twitter.com/LtHumaneSociety.
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