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Summer is over and the holidays are right around the corner. This time of year, as we get busier and busier and get wrapped up in the holiday spirit, we need to remember to make the holidays safe for our pets.

Although Thanksgiving is a time for sharing, we urge you not to share your holiday meal with your pet. It is also a good idea to tell guests not to "share" with your pet. Table scraps, including Thanksgiving turkey are unhealthy for pets. Turkey bones or spoiled meat can be especially dangerous to your pet's health. Turkey bones, like other bird bones, are hollow and therefore break easily and splinter into sharp pieces. Most dogs will not chew the bones thoroughly and sharp pieces can cause blockage and perforate the intestinal tract. And don't forget that a cat can easily jump up on a table or countertop to help himself to treats that you may have thought were out of reach.

A pet who has a turkey bone lodged in his digestive system may not show any symptoms for 1 to 2 days. When symptoms do occur they may include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Sometimes the bone will pass by itself, other times it may need to be removed surgically. Another common ailment in pets that eat leftover turkey is salmonella food poisoning. Salmonella is an organism that lives in the turkey's intestinal tract. The cooking process usually destroys all the organisms, making the turkey safe to eat. Occasionally, the center of the turkey may be undercooked, especially if it's large or full of stuffing. If the meat sits out at room temperature too long, the salmonella organisms can multiply and cause contamination. Pets may become poisoned if they eat any of the turkey that has been sitting out.

Once Thanksgiving is over, it is time for lights, decorations and Christmas trees! It is also a time for potential hazards to your pets over every square inch of your house. As with your Thanksgiving turkey, use extreme care with your holiday meals. Since people tend to entertain more frequently during Christmas and New Year, encourage your guests not to share with your pets. Remember that while you may be happy to have a house full of guests to celebrate the holidays with, your pets don't necessarily share your same enthusiasm. With everyone coming and going, watch out for open doors and sneaky pets. Make sure your pets have collars and tags on in case they escape. Ask guests to keep an eye out for pets under foot and also tell them to be aware that sometimes your normally friendly dog or cat may be frightened by the crowd and noise and also may be frightened by and therefore not so friendly with enthusiastic children. Provide a special quiet place with a blanket and fresh water (also a litterbox if you have cats) for your pet to retreat to when the festivities get too stressful.

Be aware of where you leave treats such as chocolates, which can be toxic to your pet if ingested. Be careful with cups and glasses when serving alcoholic beverages. You don't want your pets to drink from glasses left unattended. Decorations, while nice to look at also pose a potential threat. Cats are attracted to tinsel which can get wrapped in the intestines, requiring surgery.  Strings of lights are also  pretty to look at, but if your pet chews the wires, they can be fatally shocked and/or badly burned. Other things to be aware of are small ornaments, metal ornament hooks, and pieces to toys that children might leave around when playing with their new gifts. These may be ingested and cause choking or blockage. Poinsettia plants as well as mistletoe and holly are very popular during the holidays, but they are poisonous if your pet eats them. Pine needles from live trees can cause gastric upset and even puncture your pet's intestines.   Be careful if you have candles burning that might be knocked over by your pet and make sure your Christmas tree is secure so it cannot be knocked over by running dogs or climbing cats.

The holidays are a time to celebrate and spend time with your friends and family. Just be sure that while you are enjoying the holiday spirit, that you take extra care with those members of your family that cannot care for themselves. This way you can ensure that you "all" enjoy both a happy and a healthy holiday season.




Pet owners wouldn't think of feeding a spoonful of poison to their beloved four-legged friends. Yet, these same people may unwillingly be poisoning their pets by leaving antifreeze out for their pet to get into. Whether it's in a puddle on the garage floor or in an open container, antifreeze can attract and kill household pets.

Antifreeze poisoning in dogs and cats is common this time of year as people change the antifreeze in their cars radiators. Animals often are drawn to this sweet tasting liquid out of curiosity. Pets who live outdoors in subfreezing temperatures may find that the only unfrozen water available is in the puddles where radiators were drained.

The toxic agent in commercial antifreeze is ethylene glycol, a colorless, odorless liquid that makes up 95 percent of antifreeze solution. After ingestion, the poison is rapidly absorbed from the digestive tract and within 20 to 30 minutes vomiting, depression, lack of coordination and weakness often occur.

The prognosis for animals poisoned with ethylene glycol depends on how much was ingested, the size of the animal and when treatment was started. Early diagnosis is imperative to treat the animal effectively. If not treated immediately, the animal may experience severe kidney damage, could lapse into a coma, and may die, all within 24 hours of ingestion.

For the safety of your pets, dispose of antifreeze properly. Drain antifreeze into a container that can be closed and take it to a nearby service station for disposal. Thoroughly clean surfaces where the antifreeze was spilled. When storing antifreeze, make sure there are no leaks and the lid is on tight.

If your pet begins to exhibit signs or if you see your pet consuming antifreeze, contact our office immediately. Remember that antifreeze is highly toxic and immediate treatment is imperative.







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