6 tips to keep your pets safe during the holiday season | SierraSun.com

6 tips to keep your pets safe during the holiday season

Dr. Gina Kang
Special to the Sun-Bonanza

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Pet emergency rooms can see an increase in visits during the holidays. Here are some tips to avoid a trip to the ER with your pet.

1. Tree Preservatives: Some tree preservatives include fertilizers and dextrose. If your pet has chewed on the Christmas tree, signs may include mild vomiting and diarrhea. Treatment may include giving your pet a bland diet and monitoring at home.

2. Gift wrapping and tinsel: Cats and kittens love to play with strings and tinsel, but these items can cause an intestinal obstruction which is a medical emergency. If your pet is known for getting into foreign objects, ensure to keep shiny tinsel, strings, and gift wrapping way from him or her.

3. Plants: Poinsettias can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach, but in general the toxicity of the plant is low if treated properly. Mistletoe and holly plants can also cause nausea and gastrointestinal irritation.

4. Chocolate: Most pet owners are aware that dark chocolate can be dangerous to dogs, especially if the dog is small, under 20 pounds. Chocolate can also cause GI upset, and numerous wrappers can cause an intestinal obstruction.

5. Leftovers: Advise your visitors to avoid feeding table scraps to your pets. Some dogs can be susceptible to GI problems such as pancreatitis when eating fatty or rich foods. Cooked bones can also cause intestinal obstruction. If you see signs such as vomiting or diarrhea, please call your veterinarian.

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6. Medications: Many visitors may have medications or vitamins that they regularly take. Be sure to make sure that these medications are out of reach from your pet. Common medications such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be deadly to cats. Other cardiac, blood pressure, and anti-anxiety medications can also have adverse effects on your pets.

In addition to keeping your pet safe, please consider who will be visiting such as elderly family and friends. If your pet likes to jump on people, you may want to separate your pet from those who might have increased difficulty walking in order to prevent injury.

If you think your pet has ingested a toxic substance, please call your veterinarian or the APSCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Dr. Gina Kang, DVM, MS, lives in Truckee and works at Doctor's Office for Pets on 10939A Industrial Way No. 101, Truckee. She sees all pets including cats, dogs, reptiles, birds and small mammals. More information can be found at http://www.doctorsofficeforpets.com or at 530-587-5144.