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Common Pet Hazards

Common Pet HazardsPets love to eat and chew on a multitude of items and foods. Unfortunately, some of those foods and items can make your pet very sick, leading to expensive medical bills and even death.

Pet Food Hazards

Pets should not be given certain types of human foods, including almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachios, walnuts, chocolate, caffeine, onions, shallots, garlic, grapes, raisins, artificial sugars, especially Xylitol, meat bones and fat trimmings or excessively fatty meats. Ingestion of these items can cause vomiting, diarrhea and intestinal problems. Severe reactions can lead to heart, kidney and lung failure.

Giving your dog meat bones can lead to choking and stomach and intestinal damage if the bone splinters and is eaten by your pet.

Pet Plant Hazards

Pets can be drawn to plants and chew on them and eat the leaves and stems. Unfortunately, certain types of plants are toxic to dogs and cats. Toxic plants include mistletoe, holly, lilies, daffodils, poinsettias, tulips, sago palms and oleander.

Symptoms of plant poisoning can be mild or severe. Mild symptoms include upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe symptoms include rapid breathing, dilated pupils, discoloration of the gums, irritation of the mouth and throat and heart, lung and kidney failure. Signs of poinsettia poisoning are fairly mild, but lilies, oleander, mistletoe and holly can be deadly within hours if left untreated.

When decorating for the holidays, it is important to ensure that none of your potted plants or gifted flowers contain any toxic plants. To be safe, we recommend decorating with fake plants and keeping potentially toxic plants out of reach of your pets.

Pet Decoration Hazards

Christmas trees, pine needles, tinsel, ribbon and other holiday decorations can be dangerous for your pets. Cats love to bat and play with ribbons and tinsel, and it can be amusing to watch your cat play with the decorations, but ingestion of stringy materials can lead to intestinal damage and blockages. String that becomes internally stuck can result in a cutting of your pet’s stomach, which can lead to very serious infections. If you notice your cat or dog with tinsel or ribbon butt, you should make an appointment with our veterinarian.

Pet Chemical Hazards

Insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers should never be used around pets. Ingestion of these chemicals can cause severe adverse reactions. All chemicals, including cleaning chemicals, antifreeze and car fluids should be kept behind locked doors or in sealed containers to prevent accidental ingestion. It is also important to keep your pets out of neighborhood yards. Even if you do not use harsh chemicals and insecticides in your yard, your neighbors might.

Additionally, you should steer clear of putting chemicals into your Christmas tree, fountain and plant water. Pets love to drink water from odd locations, including toilets, tree bases and fountains.

For more information on dangerous foods, chemicals, plants and decorations or for advice on how to treat accidental pet poisonings, call our Solomons vet office at (410) 326-4300.