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Posted on 12-11-2012

COLD WEATHER: A fur coat does not exclude pets from frostbite and hypothermia, but how cold is too cold?
If it is below freezing, pets should not be left outside for extended periods of time.
“Wind chill warning” means keep your pet’s time outside to a minimum. Bring them
in if they are shivering, vocalizing, or doing the paw hop. Young and old pets or pets on medication can be more susceptible to the cold - keep them indoors as much as possible.

ETHYLENE GLYCOL: found in anti-freeze and some brake fluids, tastes sweet to pets but can cause death. Symptoms are stumbling, vomiting and acting as if they are intoxicated. Be sure to clean up spills and store it where pets cannot reach. Watch for spills when out on walks.

SALT OR SNOW MELTING CHEMICALS: can be ingested. Wipe your pet’s paws to prevent them from cleaning these substances from their paws or use "booties".

TOXIC TEMPTATIONS: Fresh florals commonly used in holiday decorating can be toxic to pets. You may want to consider silk or plastic floral arrangements as a safe alternative, or placing plants out of reach of your pet. Some toxic plants such as:

  • Mistletoe can cause vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.
  • Holly can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and lethargy.
  • Poinsettias can irritate your pet’s mouth, cause nausea or mild vomiting.
  • Lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats.

CHRISTMAS TREES: pose many dangers to pets. Consider decorating your tree, or at least the bottom third, with ornaments that are less likely to attract your pet’s attention, such as dried non-toxic flowers, wood, fabric or pinecones.
Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers and bacteria. If ingested it could cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea in your pet.
Decorations such as ribbons are very attractive to pets, especially cats, and if ingested can cause intestinal obstruction.
Sparkly lights are equally attractive, but can become life threatening if your pet decides to chew the cords.
Ensure any tinsel, ribbons, ornaments and ornament hooks that fall to the floor are picked up immediately and secure your tree so that it can’t be toppled or knocked over.
Supervise your pet and use barriers (e.g. baby gates) and topical pet deterrents (e.g. bitter apple spray, a bad-tasting substance available from most pet stores) as necessary to keep your pet safe from holiday temptations.

CHOCOLATE AND OTHER HOLIDAY SWEETS ARE NOT FOR PETS: Chocolate contains theobromine which can be poisonous to many animals depending on the amount and type ingested. Dark chocolate is most dangerous, but chocolate poisoning can even occur if small amounts are fed repeatedly. Watch for vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity and increased thirst, urination and heart rate.
Christmas treats should always be monitored. Family and friends may find the need to ‘treat’ your pet. Mom said it best… “all things in moderation.” Milk products can cause pets to become ill as they lose their ability to digest lactose with age.

ALCOHOL SHOULD NEVER BE IN REACH OF PETS: If your pet ingests alcohol he can become very sick and weak and may go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

HOLIDAY LEFTOVERS: may give your dog or cat severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals that have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. Poultry bones can splinter and cause blockages. Greasy, spicy and fatty foods can cause stomach upset and don’t forget to store the garbage safely out of reach from your pet. o ’Bloat’ is caused by too much gas or fluid in the stomach and could cause your dog’s stomach flipping (rotation); a deadly condition. Deep-chested dogs are most at risk, but rotation has occurred in dogs that have been allowed to eat too fast. Signs include: abdominal distention, salivating, retching, lethargy or a rapid heart rate.

TYLENOL CAN BE FATAL TO A CAT: Keep all medication out of animals reach during cold and flu season.


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