The Holiday Do's And Don'ts Of Sharing Food And The Season With Your Pets

Holiday time is almost upon us, but it's important to know that veterinary emergencies go up significantly between now and early January. There are many things that people know are dangerous, but there are other food and decor items that are simply no-nos when it comes to cats, dogs, and other furry friends.

Even things that seem innocuous can pose danger to your pets, like snowglobes for example. Most imported snowglobes are filled with antifreeze or ethylene glycol, which is poisonous to all pets (and people). Ethylene glycol has a sweet taste, and so animals lap it up, but even a teaspoon can be deadly.

"Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy."
A small amount of antifreeze can cause your pet's organs to shut down and the damage is irreversible. Liquid potpourri or the melted wax discs can also be dangerous as hot oils or wax in an exposed pot can create a poisoning and a burning risk particularly to your cats who can reach them no matter how high you place them. Even one lick or sniff can cause a chemical burn in your cat's mouth or a burn on their skin.
Then there are traditional holiday plants that should be avoided. Poinsettias are often mentioned as being a danger to cats and dogs for the holiday season, but of all the holiday plants, Poinsettias are actually the least harmful. Poinsettias can cause burns to your pet's mouth, but holiday lilies and other forced bulbs can poison your cat or dog according to Dr. Ahna Brutlag.
"Lilies, including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer, Easter and daylilies, are the most dangerous plants for cats. The ingestion of one to two leaves or flower petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure in cats."
Holly berries and mistletoe can cause stomach upset and arrhythmias.

While many people want to let their pet join in on the holiday cheer, it's important to be smart. If you are serving turkey to friends and family, it's okay to cut up a small piece of white meat for your cat or dog as long as you avoid the fattier dark meat and skin (while it likely won't kill your pet, nobody wants to clean up poo or vomit during the holidays if you can avoid it). Bones, especially poultry bones, should always be avoided as they splinter and shatter when chewed and can get stuck.

Plants in the allium family like onions and garlic might seem harmless but they can cause anemia. Raisins, which are in mincemeat, fruitcakes, and other baked goods, are actually toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. The artificial sweetener xylitol can cause severe liver disease and can also cause stomach upset. Most people know that chocolate is a danger to dogs, but it is not safe for cats either.

There are some other foods that while not fatal will cause gastrointestinal upset in your cat and dog. Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli seem healthy, but they are very hard to digest. Then there is dairy which most animals are sensitive to at a certain point. This includes milk, ice cream, yogurt, and cheese. Pumpkin is actually fine for pets, but the spices which go into pumpkin pie, like nutmeg, are toxic.

Keep this pet poison hotline number on hand for the season


[Featured Image by Alastair Grant/AP Images]