Keeping it merry for dogs and cats
Don't forget to keep your pets in mind this holiday when you're gearing up for a safe season. (Martin Poole, Martin Poole Digital Vision/Getty Images / November 9, 2011)
Mistletoe, especially the berries, are extremely toxic to pets; the most severe cases can cause low blood pressure, stumbling and even seizures. Likewise, the website of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (aspca.org) notes that holly and many lilies can be added to the list of bad-for-pets plants. Here are more items from the ASPCA and VRCC that can pose a serious holiday hazard for your four-legged friends — not to mention a costly vet's bill for you:
Tinsel, glass ornaments, spray-on snow/flocking, foil, plastic wrap/shrink-wrap, plastic foam peanuts and ribbon can all be life-threatening if consumed by your pet. Whether lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines, these items can cause a variety of symptoms and may land a pet in the operating room.
Chocolate, macadamia nuts, raisins: These familiar holiday ingredients are just some of the foods that, although they sound delicious to you, are dangerous for animals to consume. The ASPCA website explains why these, and many more foods, are toxic to pets.
Christmas tree food/preservatives: If you have a live tree, the VRCC says that sugar-based tree preservatives or plant food in the tree stand can harbor dangerous bacteria; a thirsty dog or cat may decide to use the tree stand as a drinking bowl. Stick with fresh water, and change it frequently; stagnant tree water can have bacteria too.
Liquid potpourri: The spicy smell can create a wonderful scent, but pets exposed to the liquid form can experience irritation and corrosion of the eyes, mouth, throat and esophagus.
Batteries: They're a year-round danger but it's common to have more of them around, either for toys or holiday equipment. Chewing or swallowing batteries is extremely toxic for pets. Acid burns from chewing and causing a leak in the battery are common, as are cuts from the metal casing. Smaller batteries also can be swallowed, which can cause internal burns and removal surgery.