Last month we discussed common toxic foods that our pets come across around the holidays. This month here at South Anderson Veterinary Clinic we want to touch on other common holiday problems you may come across as we decorate our homes with all the associated trees, flowers, garland and other decorations!
Did you know that a lot of plants and flowers that we bring out around the holidays can be harmful and potentially even fatal if your pet ingests them? Toxic plants include the poinsettia, lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis species), rhubarb leaves, and azaleas. Poinsettias can cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea) which is also what is generally seen with several other types of plants. Lilies are extremely toxic to cats, even if only a small amount is ingested, causing kidney failure and potentially death. Similarly, rhubarb leaves and shamrock can also cause kidney failure in our small animals. Plants like lily of the valley, oleander, yew, and foxglove can cause heart problems if they are eaten. Azaleas can also cause heart problems as well as stomach upset. It is also important to note that if you fear that your pet has ingested any narcotics (marijuana)it is important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to avoid life threatening risks to your pets.
Other common holiday risks are ingestion of things that aren't plants (or food). Items such as garland, ornaments, and other holiday decoration can result in possible life threatening conditions, many of which may require emergency surgery to correct. If you feel your pet has ingested garland or any other non-food object contact us, it is important to not pull on any strings that may be seen coming out of your pet as you will not know if you will cause more damage to the intestinal tract! Also, watch that all electrical cords are safe from becoming a snack for your pets to avoid any potential burns or electrocution. Use cord covers or set up a barrier to prevent your pet from accessing cords- also always be sure to unplug all electrical decorations when not at home.
Lastly, remind any family or guests of any rules around your pet. Whether it's in regards to food or a reminder to keep all purses or bags that may contain hazards like prescription medications out of reach of your pets. And don't forget even over the counter medications like Advil and Tylenol are toxic if ingested.
From all of us at South Anderson Veterinary Clinic- Happy Holidays! Have a wonderful and safe holiday season!