December is the time of the year when we deck the halls with boughs of holly and drape the mantel with all things shiny. But many of the traditions of the season are extremely harmful to our furry housemates. Let’s take a quick look at some not so jolly items that can make sure a very unhappy Fido or Whiskers.
Snow Globes: Did you know that snow globes contain antifreeze (aka ethylene glycol)? I didn’t, but as little as teaspoon for a feline or a tablespoon for a canine (depending on size) can be fatal. Signs of this type of poisoning are: animal is acting drunk/uncoordinated; excessive thirst and lethargy. The behavior of your pet may improve after eight to twelve hours, but the internal damage to their kidneys will continue to worsen leading to kidney failure. If you come home to a broken snow globe and your pet exhibits any of these behaviors, get them to the vet ASAP for treatment.
These lights contain Methylene chloride, another substance that can be hazardous to your pets. So if you find Mitzie nibbling on a string of these get her to the vet as she could suffer irritation to her eyes, skin, lungs and GI tract.
Tinsel: Those shiny and festive ropes of tinsel can be deadly to your cat if it’s ingested. While it’s not poisonous, it can cause great damage to a feline’s intestinal tract if they eat it as a treat. The tinsel can cause severe injury, such as a rupture of their intestines which would result in the need for surgery.
Holiday Plants: We’ve all heard of the evils lurking within the petal of the traditional poinsettia, but a bigger danger to lies within the leaves of fragrant lilies! That’s right, those Tiger, Asiatic and Stargazer Lilies are highly toxic to your furry felines with a single nibbled leaf leading to immediate kidney failure. Holly and mistletoe can lead to an upset stomach or even a heart arrhythmia. So keep those plants up and out of reach of your furry friends.
Ornaments: Remember those homemade ornaments you made as a kid? They were a salty dough that you shaped and decorated? Yes, those can cause “salt toxicosis” that can result in vomiting, diarrhea and serious electrolyte changes. Of course those shiny ball ornaments just scream “play with me” to your cat, but if they are the glass type this can lead to some serious cuts.
Alcohol: While it’s advised for humans to go easy on the holiday “spirits” it is advised to keep your pets far away from any form. Be mindful of glasses and cups left on low tables or even the floor (family Twister games can get crazy). And keep them away from food that has booze in it and raw foods that contain yeast. Alcohol poisoning in animals will lead to dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. They can also experience seizures and respiratory failure. Raw foods that contain uncooked yeast can lead to vomiting, disorientation and excessive stomach bloat.
Holidays are stressful for our pets as well as ourselves. Take some time to make sure that you are creating a festive environment that won’t stress your pets or put them in danger.