Christmas is just around the corner and we, at Edgemont Veterinary Clinic, want to give you some tips to ensure that your pets receive the greatest present of all – a happy, healthy and safe time with you and your family! What brings you and your family joy during Christmas can be deadly to your pets. So, we’ve compiled a list of common Christmas hazards that we feel belong on Santa’s “naughty” list.
Christmas lights make your house and tree more festive, but they can be tantalizing to your pets. If your pets decide to take a big gulp and eat the lights, they can get stuck in your pets’ intestines, requiring surgical removal. If they decide to take a big chomp then swallow, the glass/plastic shards can pierce their stomach wall or intestines and cause a perforation. Again, that is a surgical emergency. As well, exposed electric cords can cause electrocution/shock or oral burns if chewed. Hide, tape down, or otherwise secure all wires and lights so your pet can’t trip over, get caught in, or chew on them.
Tinsel and ribbon, if ingested, can cause vomiting, obstructed digestive tract, dehydration and can require surgery. Kitties especially love this sparkly “toy” that is fun to bat around and carry in their mouths. However, long ribbon can literally “stitch” intestines together as it is being passed through the gut. Tinsel is best avoided if you have cats, and ribbons should be thrown out as soon as you unwrap your presents.
Although not poisonous, ornaments can look like harmless toys to cats and dogs. Clean up any broken ornaments right away to keep your pets from stepping on or eating any of the pieces. As well, watch out for the hooks used to hang ornament/decorations. They can injure your pet’s mouth and lead to internal injuries like obstruction or perforations if swallowed.
Depending on the type of chocolate, amount and size of your pet, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, increased heart rate, and in rare cases, death. Just consider all chocolate to be off limits for pets.
Wrapped presents sitting unsupervised under a Christmas tree can pose a threat to curious pets depending on their contents. Ask your present giver if there are wrapped food or treats in their gift and keep them up and away from your pets. Just because you can’t see the contents, doesn’t mean your pets can’t smell them.
With a little common sense and a lot of preparation, we can try to minimize these Christmas pet safety hazards. However, accidents can happen, and the most important thing is knowing what to do if an emergency should occur. Always keep the following numbers posted in an easy-to-find location in case of emergencies:
- Your veterinarian (403-239-4657)
- 24 hours emergency hospitals:
- Western Veterinary Specialist, 1802 – 10th Ave SW, (403-770-1340)
- CARE Centre, 7140 – 12th Street SE, (403-520-8387)
- ASPCA Pet Poison Helpline (1-888-426-4435)*
Edgemont Veterinary Clinic is closed on December 25 and 26. Please remember to request medications well in advance so your pets will not miss any doses. Our team wishes you and your loved ones (furred and not), a happy, healthy and safe Christmas holiday.
*A fee may apply for a consultation with Pet Poison Helpline.