Pets are pretty much members of the family these days. but that doesn’t mean they should participate in all the family Christmas traditions.
An email being circulated by Belcaro Animal Hospital in Denver lists common holiday hazards for pets.
Tinsel, for example, adds sparkle to many homes this time of year, but it can also harm your pet’s digestive system. In fact, the long strands can cut through the intestine and cause peritonitis.
Ornaments make tempting toys but they may break and be swallowed. Broken pieces can lacerate an animal’s mouth, throat and digestive tract.
What about Christmas trees? Cats love to climb them but can pull a fully loaded tree to the ground. Tree water may contain dangerous fertilizers and stagnant tree water may contain unhealthy bacteria.
Mistletoe and holly? Snacking on holly could cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Eating mistletoe can result in stomach upset and even heart problems.
Then there’s that irresistable chocolate. Nope, could cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and, in severe cases, death. Not worth the risk.
Turkey? Tiny bones can cause constipation or even splinter to perforate the stomach. And feeding rich, fatty food can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even inflammation of the pancreas. Raw or undercooked turkey can contain Salmonella, E. coli, or Campylobacter bacteria. Sage? Can cause an upset stomach and nervous system problems. Dough? Heat from the animal’s body causes the dough to rise inside its stomach. The result could be vomiting, abdominal pain and bloating.
The sources of this information are the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals(www.avma.org) and the Pet Poison Helpline(www.petpoisonhelpline.com).
Foothills Animal Shelter(www.FoothillsAnimalShelter.org) in Golden offers its own advice dealing with the ongoing question about giving pets as gifts.
Not everyone is prepared for the time and commitment of a new pet, according to Foothills. And choosing an animal for a friend or family member, and to guarantee it would be exactly what they want, can be very challenging.
There are other suggestions.
*To have a caregiver of an animal pick out a pet that suits them best when the timing is right for them is ideal. Are they even allowed to have pets where they live? Do they have financial resources to handle the expected and unexpected costs of caring for an animal?
*If you still want to make a nice gesture for somebody who is thinking of bringing a new pet home, you can buy a Foothills Animal Shelter gift certificate that will go toward a pet adoption.
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