December abounds with holiday celebrations, and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is reminding pet owners that nothing can spoil good cheer like an emergency visit to a veterinary clinic to save a pet from a not-so-happy holiday disaster.
"Veterinarians often see an increase in the number of emergency calls during the holiday season. Whether it's exposure to festive decorations such as ornaments, tinsel, etc., the holidays can present hazards for cats," explains Dr. Clark K. Fobian, AVMA president. "The most important way you can enjoy your cat through the holiday is by providing oversight and supervision so that they are not exposed to foods, decorations, or other things that can cause a disruption or an upsetting trip to an emergency clinic. For example, children often want to give cats extra treats during the holidays. A little extra diligence is required to ensure that cats get proper foods and healthy pet treats."
Here are some AVMA holiday safety tips:
• Don't feed cats table scraps. Gravy, meat fat and poultry skin can cause life-threatening conditions like pancreatitis and gastrointestinal problems. Bones can splinter and create bowel obstructions.
• Be wary of holiday decorations; pets often consume them. For example, cats sometimes consume tinsel, which can cause an intestinal blockage serious enough to require surgery.
• Don't let your cats climb the Christmas tree. If the tree falls over, your cat could be injured. Consider tying the tree to the ceiling or a doorframe using fishing line to secure it.
• Chocolate is an essential part of the holidays for many people, but it is important that it be kept away from pets. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to cats. The darker the chocolate (baking chocolate being the darkest) the more dangerous it is to cats.
• Flowers, table centerpieces, fireplace adornments and other festive plants are another common holiday feature that can result in an emergency veterinary visit. Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are on the list of common holiday plants that can be dangerous and even poisonous to pets who decide to eat them, and poinsettias can be troublesome as well.
(Source: ~ the American Veterinary Medical Association)