Christmas is a time for delicious food, fun and decorations but it also can be a hazardous time for your pets.
Table foods, ornaments and other holiday items can be harmful to your cats and dogs.
This time of year veterinarians see an increase in digestive diseases.
The staff at LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital offers some tips on how to keep your four-legged friends in good health this holiday season:
Avoid giving your pet table food. It can cause dogs to suffer from acute gastroenteritis (an inflammation of the stomach and intestine) or pancreatitis. In both diseases, dogs experience severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and listlessness.
Bones may lead to obstructions in the esophagus, the stomach, or the intestine and lead to severe digestive signs.
Grapes, raisins and onions are foods that dogs and cats should not receive. They are toxic to pets and can cause potentially fatal diseases, such as acute kidney failure, anemia, or seizures.
Chocolate is very toxic to pets and can cause gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and neurologic disease including vomiting, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, overexcitation, and seizures.
Most ornamental plants (e.g., poinsettias, mistletoes, holly, etc.) can cause stomach upset.
Decorating usually involves more electrical cords, so please check to make sure that your pets are not chewing on them, as electric shock may have devastating consequences. Also, some pets may try to eat batteries, so please make sure that they are put away safely.
Candy wrappers, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or ribbons can lead to serious problems if eaten by dogs or cats. Tinsel is particularly enticing to cats. When ingested in sufficient quantities, it binds into a rope that can cause severe intestinal obstruction and require surgical treatment.
The weather in December and January can be quite chilly even in Louisiana. So, please remember to bring in your outside pets overnight if a hard freeze is forecast.
If your pet becomes sick or if you think that it may have ingested something harmful, contact your veterinarian immediately.