How the Holidays Make Your Pet Sick header image

How the Holidays Make Your Pet Sick

During the season of joy, it's important to remember and prevent potential nightmares for you and your pets. Holiday decorations like these can be a hazard for your pets:

  • Ornaments can look just like toy balls to dogs, so making sure your decorations are out of reach can help avoid an accident.
  • Extra electrical cords and wires can also attract unwanted chewing so you’ll want to tuck them away.
  • And if you’re a jingle bells or singing Santa figurine kind of person, keep in mind that this kind of noisy décor can scare your pet.
  • It's also a good idea to keep any holiday plants – like mistletoe, holly berries and amaryllis – out of reach because they are poisonous. Contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA poison hotline, 888-426-4435, if you suspect your pet has ingest a potentially poisonous plant. You can also visit the ASPCA website for a list of harmful plants.  

Pass around Coffee and the Pumpkin Pie 

Not all of the delicious holiday food you’ll enjoy should be shared.  Here is a list of food to avoid sharing with your pets.   

  • Bones – these can splinter once ingested 
  • Nuts – though not technically toxic, many nuts are high in fat which makes them very difficult to digest. Always avoid any nut still in its shell. 
  • Yeast dough – it can actually rise in your pets stomach
  • Fatty meats – these are hard for your pet to digest and can cause pancreatitis

Here are some other foods to remember are toxic to dogs. 

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate 
  • Coffee 
  • Food with xylitol as an ingredient 

If you want to make your dog a sweet treat check out these canine-friendly holiday cookies!

Too Much Dashing Through the Snow  

Your pets may be eager to enjoy a winter wonderland, but too much playing outside could cause frostbite or hypothermia. A normal range for a dog's temperature is 101 to 102.5°F. If their body temperature drops to a normal human range of 97.8-99.6°F you need to seek medical attention.

The first sign of hypothermia is excessive shivering, which is usually followed by lethargy. Frostbite may be another sign, especially if you notice it on the paws, ears or tail. A frostbitten area will feel cold or brittle and will be painful to your dog when touched. The affected area may swell or develop blisters. In cases of extreme frostbite the skin will turn black and die.  

To help warm an overly cold (but not hypothermic) dog, you can wrap him or her in warm blankets, wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and put it against your dog's stomach, or have him or her drink warm fluids. Even after your dog recovers, schedule a visit to the vet so they can check for any long-term damage.  

To prevent hypothermia, avoid the extreme cold for long periods of time. Take shorter, but more frequent walks, and consider getting your dog protective booties or a jacket.  

This winter make sure that you and your pets are having a jolly holiday season. By planning ahead and being aware of possible hazards, you can help avoid any pet-related holiday stress.  

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