Pets and Vacations: A Recipe for Disaster?

(CNN) — For one A dog or a cat, the holidays are full of bright, shiny fun. Tinsel hangs across the room from a tall climber, with branches designed just for climbing. Flashing lights bounce off the delicate ornaments, which often look just like balls made for a A dog’s mouth. However, a crunch and shards can cause injury.

“Think about it — that tree is a party invitation for your cat and dog. It’s full of hanging ornaments that look really scary,” said Holly Sizemore, chief mission officer at Best Friends Animal Society. As with the balls we give them to play with., A nonprofit, no-kill shelter for homeless animals that provides adoption, education, and spay and neuter services.

Don’t forget the ribbon – yards of color on gift boxes, which are ready-made forts for cats that offer plenty of hiding places. Without watchful human eyes, furry friends can get into trouble, especially if they’re already troublemakers like Reneji, a 15-year-old Maine Coon with four white paws.

“Oh, he never learns,” owner Cheryl Padgett told me via text. “He’s eaten curtain lions on brooms, plastic or straw bales, and will chew through any kind of netting. And he’ll try to eat any plant, real or artificial.

Reniji was 2 years old at the time of “The Great Curling Ribbon Debacle,” in which she “inhaled about a foot from a balloon that I brought home from work in 30 seconds,” Padgett said. Fortunately, an endoscopy found no ribbons in her intestines.

“He was right,” she said. He didn’t have a pocketbook — the doctor’s bill came to $1,100.

“The use of decorations is a common holiday scenario that can have dangerous consequences,” said Dr. Dana Verbal, chief veterinary officer for the North American Veterinary Community, a nonprofit organization that provides support and professional development to the global veterinary healthcare community. Is.

“On the tinsel, the garland, and all those curling ribbon packages, even the fabric ribbon, cats and dogs can’t break any of that down as part of their digestion,” Werbel said. “And even if the material doesn’t get stuck, it can cause a lot of damage as it passes through — upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea.”

It’s not just cats that get in trouble, she said. “I saw a dog that ate a whole Christmas wreath. It didn’t end well. He had to have surgery. So, you have to be incredibly confident that your pet will put up with your decorations. will not eat

“Otherwise, they need to be out of reach of dogs and tucked away in closets away from cats. Even the Christmas tree should be in an area where they can’t decide it’s a fun tree to climb. Is.

But you can’t blame the dog or the cat, she adds, because such behavior is part of being a predator.

“Dogs and cats are programmed to chase and pounce, and cats use their claws to grab, and at the end of that predatory behavior they are programmed to eat, to eat,” Verbal said. “That’s how they win games against ribbon, games against wire and games against your Christmas ornaments.”

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Poisonous plants and food

There are other vacation risks for your pet. Many of the flowers, plants and foods favored during the holidays are dangerous to cats or dogs, or both, Worble said.

“Occasionally, at this time of year one will find some very beautiful red and white lily arrangements or amaryllis bulbs,” she said. “Coles are highly toxic to cats – the leaves, stems, pollen from the stamens in the middle of these lilies – can cause kidney failure and even death in cats.”

Add poinsettia, mistletoe and holly to the list of poisonous holiday flowers, “so they should also always be kept on high surfaces and out of reach,” Sizemore said.

“Chocolate is very toxic to dogs and foods such as grapes, onions, chicken bones and any type of alcohol should be kept away from your pet,” Sizemore adds. “Even water in a real tree can grow bacteria, And if the cat drinks it, It can be harmful.”

For reference, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provides a pet poisoning hotline. In 2022, the society helped 400,000 animals, up nearly 5 percent from 2021.

Over-the-counter human drugs top poison list in 2022 The ASPCA announced.Then food poisoning from protein bars, products with the artificial sweetener xylitol, grapes, raisins and other toxic foods. Prescription drugs were the third most common poison for people.

Hide gifts from pets.

If you’re not sure what’s in a gift, Verbal suggests keeping the gifts in the closet until it’s time to open them.

“There chocolate and food can be wrapped in presents, and dogs have the unique ability to root out chocolate with their amazing sense of smell – chocolate in plastic boxes, wrapping paper I have chocolate, chocolate kept in a purse or in a cabinet can suddenly fly away,” he said. “That’s too much risk. The worst dog I’ve ever seen ate a 3-pound chocolate bar, the whole thing. That dog was very sick.”

It’s hard to resist the begging eyes, but you’re actually loving your pet more if you keep table scraps, bones and other news away from them during the holidays, Werbel said.

“We see a lot of pancreatitis and stomach upsets this time of year, which leads to a lot of treatments or treatments that they’re not used to,” he said. “You can make your pet feel special during the holidays by feeding them canned food on top of their kibble or making them simple chicken and rice. We recommend this for dogs with upset stomachs, but they love it. are and see it as a cure.

Stress can make pets sick.

Worble said stress is a vacation risk that people may not think about. Just like people, pets can overreact to the hectic pace of a holiday.

“We see a lot of stress-related disorders in dogs and cats this time of year, sending them to the emergency room more often than we might think,” she said. “In dogs it’s usually vomiting and diarrhea, In cats I am concerned about inappropriate urination and inappropriate scratching. And it’s usually because our schedules have changed.

Animals crave routine, she said, and can react badly when holiday guests and preparations disrupt their normal schedules.

“They like to know that I go for a walk now, I get my treatment now, dinner comes to me now, I get a hug now,” she said. “So during the holidays it’s important to try and stick to your pet’s schedule.”

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