While holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, and The Fourth of July, can bring us much celebration and joy, they can also offer some potential hazards to our pets. Here is a partial list of things which are potentially dangerous to your pet:
When ingested, aluminum foil can cut a dog’s intestines, causing internal bleeding, and in some cases, even death.
If ingested, anti-freeze (ethylene glycol) is often lethal — even in very small quantities. Because many dogs and cats like its sweet taste, there are an enormous number of animal fatalities each year from animals drinking anti-freeze. Poisoning from anti-freeze is considered a serious medical emergency which must be treated by a qualified veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. Fortunately, the Sierra company now offers a far less toxic form of anti-freeze. They can be reached at (888)88-SIERRA.
BloatBloat (gastric torsion & stomach distension) is a serious life-threatening emergency which must be treated by a qualified veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. Bloat is relatively common among large and deep-chested breeds, such as Basset Hounds, Dobermans, German Shepherds and Great Danes. Many experts believe that a feeding a large meal within 2 hours of exercise or severe stress may trigger this emergency. Eating quickly, changes in diet, and gas-producing foods may also contribute to this serious condition. Symptoms of Bloat include: unsuccessful retching, pacing, panting, drooling, an enlarged stomach/torso, and/or signs of distress.
Bones from steak, veal, pork, turkey or chicken, as well as ribs, can be hazardous to your dog and are not recommended.
Chocolate contains an element which is toxic to dogs, called Theobromine. Even an ounce or two of chocolate can be lethal to a small dog (10 lbs. or less). Larger quantities of chocolate can poison or even kill a medium or large dog. Dark and unsweetened baking chocolates are especially dangerous. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include: vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hyperactivity and seizures. During many holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter and Halloween, chocolate is often accessible to curious dogs, and in some cases, people unwittingly poison their dogs by offering them chocolate as a treat.
Corn Cobs Many dogs have suffered and, in some cases, died after eating corn-on-the-cob, when the corn cob caused partial or complete intestinal obstruction. Never allow your dog access to corn cobs.
ElectrocutionChristmas tree lights and electrical cords can be fatal if chewed on by a dog (or cat). Whenever possible, keep electrical cords out of reach.
Never unnecessarily expose your pet to firecracker noise or fireworks displays, as they can cause companion animals tremendous fear, and in> many cases, long-term phobias. Make sure to keep dogs indoors, and keep walks (on a leash) very brief. Try masking loud firecracker noises with “white noise” (from the air conditioner or white noise machine), as well as with music or other familiar sounds (radio or television). Or if possible, take a brief vacation with your pet in a quiet rural area, until The Fourth of July fireworks are over.
Heatstroke and Heat Exhaustion
A dog’s normal internal body temperature is between 100.5 degrees F and 102 degrees F. Leaving a dog in a parked car in the summer (even with the window a few inches open), can cause heatstroke within minutes. Heat exhaustion is usually caused by over-exercising a dog during hot weather. Both heatstroke and heat exhaustion can result in brain damage, heart failure or even death in a short period of time. To cool off an overheated dog, wet the dog’s body and paws with cool water, then fan. If the dog experiences heatstroke or heat exhaustion, he should receive veterinary attention as soon as possible.
When a dog’s internal temperature drops below 96 degrees F (by being exposed to cold weather for long periods, or getting both wet and cold), there is a serious risk to the dog’s safety. Small and short-haired dogs should wear sweaters when taken for walks during cold winter weather. Any sign that a dog is very cold — such as shivering — should signal the owner to bring the dog indoors immediately.
Ice-Melting Chemicals and Salt
Ice-melting chemicals and salt placed across sidewalks and roads can cause severe burning to your dog’s footpads. Whenever possible, avoid walking your dog through these substances, and wash off his footpads when you return home. There are also products available such as Musher’s Secret which can be applied to your dog’s footpads prior to going outside, that may help reduce the pain that is often caused by road salt and chemicals.
Dogs (and cats) can become extremely ill or even die from eating poisonous plants. Keep all unknown types of plants and any plants suspected of being poisonous out of reach of your pet, and/or spray with Bitter Apple (for plants). [See below for a partial list of poisonous plants.]
Plastic Food Wrap
Plastic food wrap can cause choking or intestinal obstruction. Some dogs will eat the plastic wrapping when there are food remnants left coating its surface.
Tinsel and Other Christmas Tree Ornaments
When ingested by a dog (or cat), tinsel may cause obstruction of the intestines, and the tinsel’s sharp edges can even cut the intestines. Symptoms may include: decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, listlessless and weight loss. Treatment usually requires surgery.
Remove your dog’s training collars whenever left unsupervised or crated. Never tie your dog by attaching a leash or tether to your dog’s training collar. Always use a flat buckle collar when tying your dog, and then only when supervised. Never leave your dog tied unsupervised in front of stores, restaurants or supermarkets, as they can be harrassed, poisoned or stolen.
Poisonous Plants — Partial List
Acocanthera — Fruit and Flowers
Amaryllis — bulbs
Amsinckia/Tarweed — Foliage, Seeds
Angel Trumpet Tree — Flowers and Leaves
Apricot Pits & Seed Kernal
Balsam Pear — Seeds, Outer Rind of Fruit
Betel Nut Palm
Bird Of Paradise — Seeds
Bittersweet — Berries
Bottlebrush — Flowers
Boxwood Bleeding Heart
Buckthorn — Fruit, Bark
Buttercup — Sap, Bulbs
Cassava — Roots
Castor Bean — Leaves, Bean
Chalice vine / Trumpet vine
Cherry Tree — Everything Except Fruit
Chinaberry Tree — Berries
Christmas Berry — Berries
Christmast Cactus — Sap
Christmas Tree — Needles, Tree Water
Crocus (Autumn) — Bulbs
Crocus — Bulbs
Daphne — Berries
Datura / Jimsonweed
Death Cap Mushroom
Deiffenbachia / Dumb Cane
Destroying Angel / Death Cap
Dogwood — Fruit
Eggplant — Foliage
Elderberry — Foliage
Elephant’s Ear / Taro — Foliage
English Holly Berries
Euphorbia / Spurges
Fiddleneck / Senecio
Fly Agaric / Amanita
Ghostweed / Snow On The Mountain
Golden chain / Laburnum
Holly Berries (English and American)
Horsetail Reed / Equisetum Hyacinth — Bulbs
Hydrangea — Flower Buds
Iris — Bulb
Jack-In-The-Pulpit /Indian Turnip
Jatropha — Seeds, Sap
Java bean — Uncooked Bean
Jerusalem Cherry — Berries
Jessamine — Berries
Juniper — Needles, Stems and Berries
Lambkill / Sheep laurel
Lords and Ladies / Cuckoopint
Lily of the Valley — All parts of the plant, as well as vase water
Mayapple — All parts, except fruit
Milkweeds — Foliage
Mock orange — Fruit
Mushrooms (many wild forms)
Narcissus — Bulbs
Oak — Acorns, Leaves
Oleander (very poisonous)
Peach — Pit
Pennyroyal — Foliage & Flowers
Pokewood / Poke cherry — Roots, Fruit
Potato plant — New shoots and Eyes
Rosary Peas — Pods, Seeds, Flowers
Senecio / Fiddleneck
Star Of Bethlehem
Tansy — Foliage, Flowers
Toad flax — Foliage
Tomato Plant — All parts, except for fruit
Toyon Berry — Berries
Trillium — Foliage
Virginia Creeper — Sap
Wild Parsnip — Roots, Foliage
Yellow Star Thistle
Yew (American, English and Japanese)
Note: Veterinary treatment should be immediate if poisoning is suspected.