Paw prints: Holiday hazards

Community Columnist

Twinkle lights

The lights on the tree can be a hazard to our pets if they decide to chew on the cords, leading to a serious burn or electrocution. Other decorations on the tree can be a concern as well if sharp ornaments or their hooks fall onto the floor. Also, remember to prevent access to the water under your tree so your pet does not drink it.

Liquid potpourri

While the scents of potpourri can be delightful, ingestion can prove deadly, especially for cats. Any pet might be burned by heated oils, but cats are particularly sensitive to the components called cationic detergents that are found in such products. If eaten, severe burns to the mouth, esophagus, and stomach may occur. Liquid potpourri may also cause severe irritation to the skin. Plug in air fresheners or scented candles can be safer options.

If you have a bird in your home, avoid the use of aerosolized fragrance products all together. The bird respiratory tract is very sensitive to any airborne product.

Table food

It is very tempting to give your pet scraps from the table, but you and your pet will regret it in the long run. Most table foods, especially the holiday ham, are high in fat. Ingestion of these foods commonly cause vomiting and diarrhea, and in some cases a more severe condition called pancreatitis, which can require hospitalization. Avoid giving your dog any bones as well as they could break a tooth, become lodged in the mouth, pierce the intestine or cause intestinal obstruction.

If you can’t resist and want to give your pet a special treat for the holidays, healthier alternatives could be apple slices, carrots, green beans, popcorn or a peanut butter-filled kong toy.

I wish everyone and their four-legged friends a wonderful holiday and happy new year.

Dr. Anne Weiskotten Galton is a veterinarian at Cazenovia Animal Hospital. She can be reached at 655-3409 or agalton28@yahoo.com.

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