Hol­i­day Pet Safety

Keep your furry friends merry and bright by avoid­ing these com­mon haz­ards

Reader's Digest (Canada) - - Contents - ANNA-KAISA WALKER

Keep your furry friends merry and bright by avoid­ing these com­mon haz­ards.

CHOCO­LATE

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.

CHRIST­MAS TREES

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.

XYL­I­TOL

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.”

TOXIC PLANTS

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.

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