Holiday Pet Safety
Keep your furry friends merry and bright by avoiding these common hazards
Keep your furry friends merry and bright by avoiding these common hazards.
By far the top holiday pet emergency is chocolate poisoning in dogs, says Troye McPherson, president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. “I can’t tell you how many I’ve made vomit,” she says. Dark chocolate is the most toxic; a five-ounce square can kill a two-kilogram Yorkie.
Some cats love to chew on pine needles, which is why McPherson recommends buying a tree that hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides. Be sure to tether it to the wall in case of climbers and unplug the string lights when you’re not around to supervise. Forgo tinsel, which can get stuck in cats’ intestines.
Beware of this sweetener, added to candy and mints. “Even a small amount can lead to complete liver failure in dogs,” says McPherson. “It’s one of the greatest dangers because most people aren’t aware of it.”
Poinsettias, commonly thought to be poisonous, aren’t as dangerous as they’re believed to be, says McPherson, although they can cause nausea and vomiting. However, lilies and other yuletide blooms such as paperwhites and amaryllis, can be toxic, as can mistletoe and holly. To decide whether it’s worth rushing to a hospital, call the Pet Poison Helpline or your local veterinarian.