These,15 tips will protect your pet from holiday hazards.
The BENKOWSKI HOUSEHOLD IN EUCLID, OHIO WAS READY for the holidays, the tree trimmed and stockings hung, when a near disaster struck: A Christmas 'stocking was missing, and Beulah, a I 1/2-year-old American Bulldog, was vomiting bile and had stopped eating. X-rays suggested the decoration had lodged in her stomach. She needed immediate surgery. "It was devastating," said Tracy Benkowski. "I kept thinking, it's Christmas, I can't lose her now!"
Fortunately, Beulah recovered and Benkowski learned her lesson. The next Christmas, she kept all chewable items and gifts out of reach or behind closed doors and baby gates.
It is easy for pets to get in trouble during the holidays, said Jeffrey Proulx, DVM, a board-certified emergency veterinarian and staff member at the Dove Lewis Memorial Emergency Veterinary Hospital in Portland, Ore. "Pet owners may get so busy, they lose track of what is going on with their dogs." In addition, many gifts, decorations and holiday foods pose dangers for dogs. "Be aware of the extra hazards around the holidays, and pay attention to what your dog is doing," Dr. Proulx said.
Keep your holidays safe, healthy and happy with these Tips:
1. Anticipate guest arrivals and con fine your dog to prevent escape out the open door, running away or in front of a car.
2. Reduce stress by maintaining your dog's regular feeding and exercise routine and setting aside a quiet room where it can escape from holiday parties. Too much excitement may cause stomach upset or trigger a preexisting illness.
3. Place mystery packages out of reach. Dogs often chew apart packages containing food that could make them sick. "Food is the No. I holiday hazard for dogs," said Amy Marder, VMD, vice president of companion animal services for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Greasy, fatty stuff we eat can cause mass havoc on an animal's intestines. Rich gravies and buttery sauces can cause severe vomiting, bloody diarrhea and even life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. An ounce of a 20- to-40-proof alcoholic beverage can put a small dog in a coma.
4. Tell guests to avoid giving treats from , the dinner table. Poultry skin. Fat rich gravies and buttery sauces can cause severe vomiting, bloody diarrhea and even life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. An ounce of 20 to 40 proof alcoholic beverage can put a small do in a coma.
5. STOW chocolate candy, baking chips and especially baker's chocolate out of reach. "Chocolate is the most common toxicity we treat during holidays," Dr. Proulx said. Eating even small amounts causes"vomiting and diarrhea. Large amounts can cause abnormal heart rhythms and nervous system malfunction, even death.
.6. Secure garbage in bins with dog-proof lids or behind locked doors. Dogs may chew up holiday throwaways such as meat scraps, bones, paper, foil or plastic flavored with food, -and even gift wrapping and ribbon, which can absorb food flavors. Ingesting these items can result in vomiting, diarrhea or intestinal perforation or obstruction.
7. Read labels on products such as tree water preservatives and artificial snow, and buy only those labeled nontoxic.
8. Put away toys after children open them. Small plastic and rubber balls are common causes of choking and intestinal blockage in dogs. Ingested plastic or cloth toys must often be removed surgically.
9. Consider a smaller living or cut tree that can be positioned on a tabletop, making it harder for your dog to reach decorations or knock over the tree. Secure larger trees to a wall to prevent tipping, and use a screen around the base to block access to electrical cords and gifts.
11. Fasten all decorations securely and arrange breakable ornaments toward the top of the tree. Dogs may chew them and suffer cuts in the mouth. Tinsel and angel hair can cause digestive tract obstructions. "Bubbling" lights filled with methlene chloride, can be mildly toxic.
12. Return paper, ribbons and yarn to their storage places after gift wrapping. Bored, anxious or merely curious dogs may choke on them.
13. Place holiday plants out of reach. Poinsettia can cause mild symptoms of drooling, oral pain or vomiting. Mistletoe can cause vomiting, diarrhea, labored breathing, shock and even death from cardiovascular collapse. Vacuum often. Eating the needles of both real and artificial trees can cause intestinal blockage.
14. Display candles on high shelves, and use fireplace screens to avoid singed whiskers and painful burns.15. Tuck cords out of reach. Bored dogs and teething pups often get electrocuted when they chew on them.
CALL FOR HELP
Keep the numbers of the National Animal Poison Control Center handy. A nonprofit organization associated with the America Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the center, open 24 hours, charges a $45 consultation fee per case to cover its costs.
(900) 680-0000 (fee charged to the phone bill)
(888) 426-4435 (fee charged to credit card)
For more details, visit its website at http://www.napcc.aspca.org