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Common Holiday Pet Emergencies You Can Easily Avoid

'Tis the season and everyone is feeling extra joyful around this time of year. Food, family, and more food awaits you. Unfortunately all this eggnog-sipping, food-coma inducing holiday cheer can cause some serious issues for our four-legged buds.

Dr. Beth Davidow, medical director and board-certified specialist in critical care and emergency medicine, says that the holidays are a busy time at the BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospitals. The main culprits being food, travel and holiday decorations. It's sad but true, our favorite holiday goodies are the top reasons our pets might end up at the emergency vet clinic.

So what can you do to make sure you don't join the ranks of pet holiday emergency victims? Read on.

Keep Yummy Holiday Food For The Humans

I know it might be tempting to share some of your holiday feasting with your pet, but a lot of food that we love can be dangerous for pets. Davidow warned against meat bones and turkey skin which can lead to pancreatitis, a gastrointestinal upset caused by ingesting too much fat – one of the most common problems she sees during holiday time.

Chocolate, cookies and cakes are what most of us look forward to for the holidays, but make sure you keep chocolate far away from your pet since it's toxic for them. Along with chocolate, another common ingredient in holiday sweets, xylitol (a sweetener used for baking, found in some candies and peanut butters), is very toxic for pets. Make sure grapes, raisins, onions and uncooked bread dough are also out of your pet's reach. Keep the ASPCA's Poison Control Hotline (888.426.4435) on-hand just in case.

Be Prepared For Traveling With Your Pet

Planning to bring your pup with you to visit the relatives? If you're flying, you'll need a health certificate from your veterinarian issued within 10 days of travel. Davidow said she's seen a lot of stressed soon-to-be travelers in her ER asking for last-minute certificates.

Make sure you bring all the necessary comforts your pet is used to, his usual carrier, toys, food and medications. It's also a good idea to keep a copy of your pet's medical records with you when you're traveling. Before you jet off to see the fam, take a few minutes to research the nearest emergency veterinary hospitals near your destination.

Decorations Are For Decorating, Not Ingesting

Festive decorations are an essential aspect for every holiday gathering, but according to Davidow, flowers and electrical cords are some of the usual suspects that cause pet emergencies during the holidays. You may have heard that poinsettias are dangerous to pets, Davidow said recent studies have shown the plants cause irritation but aren't toxic. However, there is another flower that IS toxic to your pet: lilies. Davidow warns that cats can suffer from acute kidney failure from ingesting lilies. Besides the festive flowers, make sure your pets don't eat the tinsel on the tree or ribbons on presents and food baskets, both can cause serious digestion problems. Also be sure to prevent pets from chewing on electrical cords. At the very least, this can cause mouth burns, Davidow said. It could also create non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), which can be fatal if not treated.

If you suspect that your pet may have chewed or ingested something dangerous during the holiday, take them to an emergency vet even if you're not sure what/if they ate something—better to be safe than sorry.

Now that you know some of the leading offenders causing holiday pet emergencies, you can be extra vigilant to keep your pet out of harm's way. Invest in some tasty dog or cat-friendly holiday treats, toys and gifts for your pet to help you resist the urge to spoil them with human delights—it's the holidays for them too!


Nov 10, 2016

Tags:   pet parenting   pet tips   pet safety   holiday  

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