How to Avoid the Top Ten Pet Dangers During the Holidays

2012-11-15 09:59

November and December are two of the most festive months of the year, but they can also be very dangerous for our furry friends. Two of the greatest dangers are lost pets and pet poisoning. Veterinary experts offer advice on how to keep your dogs and cats safe during the winter holidays.

“During the holidays, we see a lot of emergencies,” said Dr. J. Darrell Phillips, hospital administrator of Animal Emergency and Referral Center in Flowood, an affiliate of Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Pets are curious, and during the holidays we have all kinds of unusual things around the house. I tell people to think of it like they are going to baby-proof a house. You are going to do the same kind of thing for your pet during the holidays -- and the rest of the year.”

In 2011, Veterinary Pet Insurance Company reports that policyholders spent more than $22.8 million on medical conditions commonly associated with the holidays. . The most expensive condition is ingestion of a foreign body that has to be removed surgically, costing an average of $2,328 per pet. Enteritis (diarrhea) and gastritis (vomiting), two of the most common pet conditions, cost an average of $279 and $105 per animal, respectively.

"Our data shows that most pet holiday accidents or injuries are related to pets eating people food or other holiday objects, such as tinsel, holiday houseplants, ornaments and ribbon," said Dr. McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "Whether it's holiday food or decorations, pets have a knack for ingesting foreign objects, and it's important for pet owners to keep unsafe items out of reach."

“We see a lot of gastrointestinal upset in pets where they have just eaten too much,” adds Dr. Phillips. “But a lot of things are toxic to our pets, like chocolate, grapes, raisins and some nuts. And those things can cause serious injury and sometimes death.”

Keep in mind that the garbage can, especially if it is overflowing with holiday trash, is one of the greatest risks for your pet. During times when you may not be as vigilant as you normally are, a dog or cat can begin foraging through the trash and find foods and objects they shouldn’t ingest.


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