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Holiday hazards for your pets

Posted December 11, 2013 in Advice Column, Des Moines West

Winter holidays are approaching, and here are some tips to keep the holidays fun and exciting without needing to make an unwanted trip to the emergency room.
• Tinsel and ribbons, though pretty, can be serious choking hazards for your pet, particularly cats. These appear to be fun toys, but can become lodged in their intestines, potentially creating a blockage. Instead of tinsel, put up shiny ornaments!
• Poinsettia plants are technically not toxic to your pet. However, they are quite irritating to their mouths and intestinal tract. This can result in salivating, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. Substitute poinsettias for other plants like Christmas cacti, or just put the plants out of their reach.
• Remember that pets should not be given table scraps, particularly anything with chocolate, grapes, onions, bones or high fat contents. These foods can all cause serious health problems in your pet if eaten.  Instead, many pets love ice cubes and carrots as treats. Also, most pets will eat their own kibble as a treat, as they will love anything that comes from you.
• Antifreeze is extremely toxic to our pets. In fact, just one lick can cause kidney failure and even death. If you notice that your pet seems off, or has been hanging around the antifreeze, bring them in to your Des Moines veterinarian as quickly as possible.
• Finally, make sure that the holidays are both fun and stress-free for you and your pet, and always take time to go outside and play in the snow.

Information provided by Dr. A.G. Miller, DVM, Ingersoll Animal Hospital, 3009  Ingersoll Ave., 274-3555.

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