Christine Navarre, LaFleur, Kara D., Benedict, Linda F. | 12/8/2006 4:38:00 AM
News You Can Use Distributed 12/07/06
The hustle and bustle of the holidays may make even the most responsible of pet owners neglectful of certain dangers to cats and dogs among the food, events and decorations, says Dr. Christine Navarre, LSU AgCenter veterinarian.
That festive bowl of green and red M&Ms, for example, can make a dog very sick.
"Chocolate and other people-foods can be toxic to pets," Navarre said. "Make sure your pet does not get into the garbage or into food left out on the counter. Too much rich food can cause life-threatening illnesses. Pets should only be fed commercial pet food."
If you are frying a turkey for the holidays, make sure your pet is kept away from the fryer. This could be extremely dangerous for a curious pet, she said.
Decorations such as tinsel, lit candles and ornaments attract pets and should be kept out of reach. Christmas trees should be carefully secured so they cannot be knocked down.
"Tinsel can be fatal if eaten, and electric cords can cause electrocution if chewed on," Navarre said.
Holiday plants such as holly, ivy, mistletoe and poinsettia are all toxic to pets. If you have these in your home, try to keep them out of your pet’s reach.
Some pets are not used to large crowds and a lot of noise. Parties can be stressful to them. If you are hosting a party or will have fireworks, have a safe place to keep pets so they will not become frightened and hurt themselves.
If a new puppy or kitten is on your gift list, it is a better idea to introduce it to the family after the holidays. Being introduced to new surroundings is stressful enough for a new pet without the added excitement of the holidays.
"Wait until things quiet down, dangerous decorations are put away, and the house can be animal-proofed and made safe for the new addition to the family," Navarre said.