Holiday pet hazards worth worrying about - Dr. Marty Becker


Holiday pet hazards worth worrying about

Friday, Dec 19th, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker

Yesterday I wrote about holiday pet hazards that are more hype than harm. Now I’m going to go over the hazards you need to prevent if possible and treat with urgency if they happen:

1. Human medications. The holidays are a time when we have visitors, including older parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who are on medications. The accidental ingestion of human medications is year in and year out the #1 reason people call the Animal Poison Control Hotline. Ask guests to not leave medications out on a nightstand or bedroom counter or table. Instead, ask them to keep them in a drawer or in a cabinet in the bathroom.

2. Sweetener. The sweetener Xylitol is used in sugar-free gum, candy, mints, cough syrup, baked goods, and even some unexpected products like jello. This product is extremely toxic to pets, even in small doses, and is commonly found in easy to reach places like in a purse that’s on the ground or on a chair. Think of products that have xylitol as one of the ingredients as having pet Mr. Yuck stickers on them.

3. Antifreeze. People often drive long distances and when they stop the car, the radiator can burp a little antifreeze that drips to the ground. This green liquid is sweet and tasty for pets, and extremely toxic. After you’ve welcomed guests, excuse yourself and go out to see if there have been any leaks. If there are, don gloves before you clean them up.

4. Tinsel. Many baby-boomers remember trees with silvery tinsel on them, shining and shimmering with the slightest air movement. We liked it so much some people still put it on retro-themed trees. The problem is, cats also love tinsel, and can’t help batting, nibbling and swallowing it, where it often causes the intestines to bunch up like an accordion, resulting in gastrointestinal blockage.

Speaking of the Animal Poision Control Hotline, here’s the number: (888) 426-4435. Make sure it and your veterinarian’s emergency contact information is handy over the holidays!