12/7/2007 1:31:17 AM
Food, decorations and rituals that make the holidays festive for people can be hazardous to pets. LSU AgCenter veterinarian Dr. Christine Navarre cautions pet owners to keep the season safe for their animals.
Setting out sweets to snack on may seem innocent, but candy can cause digestive upsets, and chocolate is toxic. Other people food that can be toxic includes onions, garlic and raisins. Holly, ivy, mistletoe and poinsettia are all toxic.
Make sure pets don’t get into garbage or on countertops where there’s food. Feed pets only commercial pet food. Never let a pet consume alcohol.
“Don’t put gifts that contain food under the tree where pets can get to them,” Navarre advises, explaining, “Too much rich food can cause life-threatening pancreatitis.”
Tinsel, electric cords, lit candles and ornaments are attractive to pets. Tinsel can be fatal if eaten, and electric cords can cause electrocution if chewed on. Never leave lit candles unattended, hang ornaments out of reach and make sure the Christmas tree is secured so it can’t be knocked down.
If you’re hosting a party, a house full of people can be stressful to pets. Fireworks and other loud noises also can be stressful. “Have a safe quiet place to keep pets so they don’t become frightened and hurt themselves,” Navarre recommends.
If a new pet is on your gift list, wait until after the holidays to actually introduce the new pet to the family. Being introduced to new surroundings is stressful enough on a puppy or kitten 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,” Navarre says.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture