Holidays present pet health hazards

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 9:24am

If you think that chocolate Santa looks delicious, watch out. Your dog probably does too. Calls to ASPCA's poison emergency hotline topped 160,000 last year...and many of those are during the holidays, when pet health hazards are everywhere.

Dr. Valri E. Brown of the Cat & Dog Clinic says many of those cases can be prevented if owners know what they should (and shouldn't) feed their animals. She reccomends avoiding giving your pet holiday scraps, which can cause stomach problems. Chocolate and sweet treats are other major culprits, she says.

Other things to watch out for? Antifreeze, baking chocolate (which is even more dangerous than milk chocolate for an animal), mistletoe, poinsetta, Christmas cactus and tinsel.

However, the dangers aren't just in what your pets eat. Dr. Brown reccomends watching out for those Christmas lights too. "They'll get in them sometimes and that's something we've seen quite a bit," she says.

So what can you do to keep your pet safe? Veterinarians say keep that poinsetta on the top shelf. And if Rover does eat it? Bring him by the vet...just to be on the safe side.

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