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Holiday pet hazards that should be prevented

Pet column
By: Dr. Thomas Morrow Special to Inside Lincoln
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The holidays are a time for celebration, spending time with family and reflecting on the good things that occurred during the year. But the holidays can be hazardous for our pets. Here are some precautions you can take to ensure your holidays are cheerful for all. Holiday decorations pose a real threat to our pets. They are commonly ingested by pets, especially dogs, so try to put the decorations out of reach. Hang garland or other ornaments high enough that the dogs can’t jump to grab them. Do not underestimate your dogs’ desire to eat items other than food. They will eat anything! Tinsel is the most dangerous decoration as it can cut through the intestine when ingested and is very difficult to diagnose with radiographs (X-ray). Pets can easily die from this, unless surgery is performed quickly. Our feline friends are most likely to do this as they are prone to like stringy items. The other danger to our pets are holiday decorations that are power related. Cats and dogs have been known to chew on cords. This can cause symptoms ranging from burns to the tongue and lips to death. A tip to help with this problem is to hide the cords in hard plastic PVC pipes, where possible. Also you can spray a bitter apple to try to dissuade from chewing on these dangerous wires. The holidays usually involves family dinners with rich food and relatives who may not understand that feeding the dog table food can cause severe problems. We see many cases of pancreatitis in dogs around the holidays from eating meat and other fatty foods. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that can be mild to severe. Symptoms are vomiting and diarrhea, a very painful abdomen, lethargy and lack of appetite. Certain plants associated with the holidays can be toxic to pets. Poinsettias can cause irritation of the mouth and stomach to cats and dogs, but in general are much less of a threat than holly and mistletoe. Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea and depression. Mistletoe is very toxic, causing vomiting and diarrhea, cardiovascular collapse, trouble breathing, low heart rate and low blood pressure. Pets may drink water from the Christmas tree. Many trees have additives added to the water to keep the tree fresh. These in general are of low toxicity but the composition may vary, according to the manufacturer. These easy precations can help prevent sick pets and ensure your family has a happy holiday season. As always we are here for all of your pet’s needs. We wish you a wonderful holiday season. Thomas D. Morrow, D.V.M. can be reached at Critter Creek Veterinary Hospital, 395 So. Highway 65, Suite 1 in Lincoln. Phone is 409-6549.