Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network


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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

The lights, the chocolate, the Christmas tree, all the pretty ribbon!!! The holidays, while joyous and excited, can also be an obstacle course of landmines for your dog or cat. Here is a quick reference guide of potential dangers and how to avoid them.

Lights ~
Electrical shock is a potential risk with holiday lights. Some pets may find their twinkle appealing and want to chew or play with them. If possible, keep lights at a height where your pet cannot reach, this applies to both outdoor and indoor lights and make an effort over or tack down electrical cords. If your pet has been shocked take them to local animal hospital immediately for treatment.

Other Decorations – Ribbon, Tinsel, Ornaments, Wrapped Presents ~
It’s no news that cats and dogs and kittens and puppies alike love to chew on things, and by things, I mean everything. The shiny attraction of ribbon, tinsel, ornaments etc., only makes that impulse harder for your pet to control. Ingestion of any of these items in a serious matter and can lead to infection and damage to your pet’s intestine. Baby gates are an easy way to ensure your pets stay clear of these tempting items. Or adopt the policy of hanging all ornaments higher up on your tree, or use only ‘pet-safe’ ornaments on the lower branches. As a rule, never use tinsel – it is shiny and attractive to our pets, and may cause choking or obstruction.

Candles~                                                                                                                                    We all love holiday candles that light our festive tables or menorahs, but it’s important to position these on level surfaces that are stable and high enough to be out of your pets’ reach. Cats can be huge culprits of knocking candles over due to their agility and tendency to wander across the furniture. Remember to never leave your candles unattended if you have a pet.

Mistletoe and Toxic Plants ~
While perfect for stealing a kiss from someone, mistletoe is highly poisonous to your pet. Should your pet ingest any you should bring them to a vet immediately, reactions can range from vomiting and diarrhea and even death. If you have a pet I would simply not recommend having mistletoe in the house but if you must, keep it securely fasten in a place where neither your cat or dog can reach. Furthermore, other common toxic seasonal plants include ivy, holly, lilies and poinsettias. Additionally, the needles off coniferous trees can be irritating to the mouth and digestive system, so watch out for pets eating them.

Overeating ~
We all do it, it’s the holidays, what’s another shortbread cookie, another piece helping of mashed potatoes and gravy, another candy cane, chocolate treat, Christmas bark? Right? Fair enough, although you’ll have to deal with reconciling your new found pounds come the new year. (Or not, if you are one of the few with steely self-control.) Our pets don’t necessarily have that self-control or the luxury of the 3-month membership to that boutique gym you’ve signed yourself up for. As well-intentioned as you or your family and friends might be, overfeeding your pup can result in an upset stomach and in some cases pancreatitis. Pass out a limited number of dog-friendly treats to your guests and let them know the best way to ‘treat’ your pup is to give him some simple love and attention. And remember BONES ARE DANGEROUS! Especially poultry bones which splinter easily, and can cause irritation, obstruction or perforation of the digestive tract.

Stick to your regular routine ~
The increase in activity and visitors at holiday time can be stressful to some pets. Try to keep as much of a normal routine for your pet as possible. If your pet is stressed by commotion, consider isolating them to a quiet room of the house.

Safe and happy holidays to you and your family – pets included!

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