Holidays call for caution with Fido and Fluffy

November 28, 2009 9:23:00 PM



Holidays present special situations that are dangerous for pets. 


Seasonal holiday foods are rich in calories, fat or seasonings. Some treats, such as those that are chocolate or contain it, can seriously damage a pet''s internal system or even cause the pet to die. 


"Animal ingestion of chocolate is a common concern for veterinarians," said Dr. Cory Langston, a veterinarian at the college who specializes in pharmacology issues. "Overdoses of this food can lead to seizures and abnormal heart rhythms." 


Some foods and decorations pose a particular threat to the pet''s teeth, tongue and gums. Sticky, sugary foods can coat, crack or break the pet''s tooth enamel. This can have both short term and long term effects on dental health. 


Other treats to be leery of: 




"Avoid giving large numbers of treats and leftovers to your pet," Langston said. "Most pets are not accustomed to such things, and this rapid change in diet often causes gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting or diarrhea." 


Objects such as tree ornaments, ribbon, tinsel and decorative materials can injure or kill a pet. Pet owners should make sure these items are removed from places where pets are prone to go. 


"A variety of chew toys and foods are good for keeping an established pet''s teeth in good condition," said Dr. Diana Eubanks, a dental specialist at the college. "Look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of approval on these products, which means the products have been tested and meet the claims of plaque and tartar reduction." 


In case of an accident or concern, pet owners should contact their local veterinarian or call the National Animal Poison Control Hotline at 1-888-426-4435.