Holidays could pose hazards for pets

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By KATIE JUSTICE, kjustice@clickthepaper.com

From Christmas to Kwanzaa, the holiday season is well under way, and for many that means a travel, time with family and a hearty holiday meal.

And while that may sound like fun, there are hidden hazards to Fido lurking everywhere, even in the shadows of your Christmas tree.

The holidays present a risky time of year for pet owners with decorations, food and travel adding threats to a pet’s well-being.

Chocolate, coffee, alcohol, avocado, yeast dough, garlic, onions, raisins, nuts and the sugar substitute xylitol can all prove harmful to pet health. Turkey, chicken and ham bones easily splinter and can cause a pet’s intestinal tract to become perforated. Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis in pets, and many spices enjoyed by humans simply aren’t safe for pets.

Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe, while all are Christmas staples, are toxic to pets and can lead to everything from an upset stomach to cardiovascular problems. Also, certain types of lilies, if ingested by cats, can cause kidney failure.

A Christmas tree may be the highlight of your holiday decorations, but it’s still a risk factor for pets. Trees should be secured, so as not to fall and possibly injure a pet. Also, Christmas tree water poses a threat to pets, because it can contain fertilizer or bacteria, which may make them sick.

Tinsel may be a feline favorite, but it comes with a price. While cats may love to play with the sparkly strands, if it becomes ingested it may lead to a possible need for surgery. The same goes for confetti streamers.

When it comes to travel, a pet can become just as stressed as its owner. If traveling by plane, avoid long layovers and feed pets less because they can become car and air sick just like humans. If you’re driving to reach your destination, don’t forget frequent potty breaks for your animal companion. Also, remember to pack your pet’s collar with ID tags and vaccination records.