1. Most people know that chocolate can be toxic to dogs (especially dark or baking chocolate), but did you know that artificial sweetener can also be toxic? Xylitol (found in sugar free treats and many gums) can be very toxic to dogs if ingested. So avoid feeding your pet any sweet treats this holiday season and be sure to store all candy / baked goods out of reach of pets. Call your veterinarian for advice if think your pet has ingested products containing chocolate or xylitol.
2. Avoid feeding your pet left overs and be sure they cannot get into the trash. Overeating fatty foods such as turkey, ham or gravy can lead to an upset stomach (vomiting, diarrhea) and even pancreatitis. Bones also pose a choking or obstruction hazard.
3. Toxic holiday plants include: poinsettias, most varieties of lilies, and amaryllis. Keep decorative plants out of reach of pets, especially cats who may want to taste them!
4. Secure all holiday decorations to avoid a falling hazard, also watch for wires or cords where a dog or cat could chew or become tangled in them. Avoid decorations within reach of pets that could be chewed or swallowed. Tinsel can create choking or obstruction if swallowed.
5. Update your pets' identification tags and make sure they are wearing collars just in case of escape during the busy holidays. This is also very important if travelling with your pet. Consider microchipping for permanent identification.
6. Winter brings about the hazard of ethylene glycol (antifreeze) ingestion. A very small amount can be fatal to a dog or cat so clean up all spills promptly and call your veterinarian immediately if ingestion is suspected.
7. For animals outdoors, like horses, make sure they have constant access to fresh water (not frozen) and have shelter from the wind and / or snow.
Wishing you a wonderful and SAFE holiday season . . . .