dog in santa hat

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I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe that the holiday season is here already! This is an exciting time of year and we all love to see friends and family but what about our furry friends?

For them this is sometime both a stressful and a possibly dangerous time of year and we as their ‘parents’ need to be extra vigilant for their sakes.

Furry Stressors

During this time of year, sometimes, as we rush around busily buying presents, preparing for parties and special family gatherings, rearranging the house and decorating it, we, ourselves, get a little ‘frayed around the edges’. As we all know, our pets are very sensitive to our moods and feelings. Not only do we have less time to spend with them but often when we are home we ourselves are more stressed than usual. Their stress may translate into more shedding, more hiding, more accidents and even more chewed up shoes or pillows or other ‘mischief’.

If you start to see the indicators, step back, take a breath and spend some quality time with your furry loved one. BOTH of you will benefit from a little love fest!

Seasonal Dangers

Doggy moms and dads need to be extra careful when party time and the family gatherings roll around. Chocolate desserts, hot chocolate drinks and rich chocolate candies are a part of the season which we all love. Who hasn’t put out a bowl of M & Ms or a platter of Aunt’s Martha’s special brownies during a party? But these foods which are treats for us can be very harmful to our dogs if they get even a small amount. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and can cause liver and kidney damage and even death.

Kitty and doggy moms and dads need to be aware of three seasonal  plants that are mildly to seriously dangerous to both cats and dogs.  According to the Pet Poison Helpline, these three are lilies, poinsettias and mistletoe.

They say that there are dangerous and benign lilies out there, and it’s important to know the difference. Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies contain oxalate crystals that cause minor signs, such as tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus – this results in minor drooling. The more dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are true lilies, and these include Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) can result in severe kidney failure.

Concerning poinsettias, the Pet Poison Helpline says that while poinsettias are commonly “hyped” as poisonous plants, they rarely are, and the poisoning is greatly exaggerated. When ingested, mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhea may be seen. If the milky sap is exposed to skin, dermal irritation (including redness, swelling, and itchiness) may develop.

The last of the three is mistletoe. The  Pet Poison Helpline says that there are several types of mistletoe which can be poisonous to pets:Phoradendron serotinum (American variety) and Viscum album (European variety). The American mistletoe is less toxic than the European varieties of it. Berries from this holiday plant contain polysaccharides, alkaloids, and lectins. When accidentally ingested by our pets, mistletoe poisoning can result in mild signs of gastrointestinal irritation (e.g., drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain). When ingested in large amounts, abnormal heart rate, collapse, hypotension (low blood pressure), ataxia (walking drunk), seizures and death have also been reported.

Bottom Line

So have fun. Enjoy this special time of the year but don’t forget to help your furry friends to enjoy it, too!