Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, our pets can be overlooked. I don’t mean that you forgot to buy that holiday sweater that you promised Fido for Christmas, but rather that sometimes you can run the risk of killing them with kindness, literally. There’s a tendency to want to share our experiences with our animals and during the holiday season that often means sharing what’s on the dinner table. You, as a pet owner, may know that a lot of “human” food isn’t always good for your pet, but what about your visitors? They will sometimes sneak food under the table to an anxious tail-wagging dog, and you may not even be aware of it.
Max was an overly friendly part Chihuahua, part Black and Tan mix that I adopted from the local animal shelter when I moved out to Pacific, Missouri. I had him almost ten years. During that time there were a few “mishaps” that were both comical and potentially dangerous, like the time he ran outside after an ice storm and slid into a tree, almost knocking himself out, or the time he nearly got run over by a car. One time, shortly after Christmas, he got a large piece of ham off of the kitchen table without anybody knowing and pretty much gorged himself on it. It was on New Year’s Eve that he started whining and howling in pain.
At first I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him until I noticed that his stomach was badly swollen. I called the vet about 1 a.m. that morning and after telling him the symptoms, he said that all the fat and salt that was in the ham had probably given him a massive case of indigestion and gas. He asked me if I had any Pepto Bismol. I said no, so he recommended that I go out and get some and give him a dose. Max wasn’t too happy about the taste of the Pepto though. About a half an hour later, after a pink dog and several rather smelly explosions, Max was all right again. Another time he chewed the cap off of some allergy medication he was taking and swallowed the whole bottle. This resulted in a late night trip to the animal hospital to have his stomach pumped.
But I guess I was lucky that, except for that incident, Max made it through most of the holidays relatively unscathed. Some other dogs and cats haven’t been that lucky though. According to CNN, (www.cnn.com), incidences of pet poisoning, sometimes fatal, rise over the holidays when family chaos increases and you pet’s environment may change from day to day with the arrival of family and friends bearing gifts, food, and exotic plants.
Here are a few of the things that veterinarians suggest you keep out of the reach of your pet this holiday season:
1. Antifreeze. Antifreeze tastes sweet, but is extremely poisonous to pets and people.
2. Chocolate. Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that can affect the heart, kidneys, and central nervous system of your pet.
4. Prescription or illegal drugs. No, it’s not funny to get your pet high on alcohol or other drugs. As a matter of fact it can be extremely dangerous.
5. Rodenticides. Most of these contain Coumadin, an anti-coagulant drug that can cause death from internal bleeding.
6. Xylitol. This is a sweetener than is found in some kinds of gum and candy.
7. Grapes, raisons,onion, garlic. Although these are fine in small amounts, a large quantity can be dangerous.
Remember also that certain kinds of flowers and plants can be dangerous to your pet. It’s best to keep your pet away from them just in case.