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Queens Chronicle

Pets need people for safe holidays

Chocolate, holiday plants and bright, fragile ornaments pose animal dangers

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Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015 10:30 am

To help alleviate the pet-related holiday stress, Central Veterinary Associates of Queens and Nassau is sharing its top tips for pet safety this season.

• Bright lights, ornaments and smells of Christmas trees are drivers of a cat’s curiosity. Securely anchor the tree to keep it from knocking over onto your pet, or even small children. Sweep up fallen needles from fresh trees frequently to keep them from being swallowed. Keep pets out of the water in the tree stand and never add toxic tree preservatives.

• Dogs and other animals can swallow or choke on small toys, whether they are for children or pets. Long, stringy toys are often a cat’s favorite, but ribbon, yarn, tinsel and loose little parts can get stuck in their intestines and require surgery.

• Human food can pose a threat to pets’ health and safety. Chocolate, candy and foods that are high in sugar and fat can lead to gastrointestinal problems. Macadamia nuts and walnuts can cause severe lethargy, fever, vomiting, tremors, joint stiffness and immobility if consumed by animals. Grapes, raisins, onions, avocados and garlic also can cause illness.

• Any glass, breakable or edible ornaments should be placed high on your tree, out of the reach of your pets. Make sure they are too large to get lodged in your animal’s throat. Shards from broken ornaments are an intestinal blockage hazard and can injure paws, mouths or other body parts.

• Holiday plants and pets don’t always mix well. While poinsettias have long been thought to be toxic to animals, the ASPCA reports that these plants generally lead to irritations to the mouth and stomach. Holly, when eaten, can lead to gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Lilies, if nibbled on by a cat, can cause kidney failure. Opt for either fake plants or real ones that are nontoxic.

• If chewed on, wires can deliver a potentially lethal electric shock, and batteries can cause severe burns to an animal’s mouth and esophagus.

• Never leave alcoholic beverages unattended in areas where pets can reach them. If they are consumed, an animal can become severely intoxicated and weak, depressed and may go into a coma. In severe instances, death from respiratory failure can occur.

• Animals are sensitive to loud noises, flashing lights and strong smells. During New Year’s fireworks celebrations, leave pets indoors, preferably with a radio or TV on to drown out the noise.

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