The holiday season is in full swing that means more decorations, parties and festive treats. While this time of year is joyous, it can also be a dangerous time for your dog. The American Kennel Club (www.akc.org) has outlined a few tips to keep your dog safe and happy this holiday season.
- Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs. Make sure they are kept in places your dog cannot reach.
- Do not put lights on the lower branches of your tree. They may get very hot and burn your dog.
- Watch out for electrical cords. Pets often try to chew them and get badly shocked or electrocuted. Place them out of reach.
- Avoid glass ornaments, which break easily and may cut a dog’s feet or mouth.
- Do not use edible ornaments, or cranberry or popcorn strings. Your dog may knock the tree over in an attempt to reach them.
- Keep other ornaments off the lower branches; if your dog chews or eats an ornament, he can be made sick by the materials or paint.
- Both live and artificial tree needles are sharp and indigestible. Keep your tree blocked off (with a playpen or other “fence”) or in a room that is not accessible to your dog.
- Tinsel can be dangerous for dogs. It may obstruct circulation and, if swallowed, block the intestines.
- Keep burning candles on high tables or mantels, out of the way of your dog’s wagging tail.
- Review canine holiday gifts for safety. Small plastic toys or bones may pose choking hazards.
- Your dog may want to investigate wrapped packages; keep them out of reach.
In the event that your dog becomes poisoned or sick during the holidays the ASPCA (www.aspca.org) provides these helpful hints: “What To Do If Your Pet Is Poisoned.”
Don’t panic. Rapid response is important, but panicking can interfere with the process of helping your pet.
Take 30 to 60 seconds to safely collect and have at hand any material involved. This may be of great benefit to your vet and/or APCC toxicologists, as they determine what poison or poisons are involved. In the event that you need to take your pet to a local veterinarian, be sure to take the product’s container with you. Also, collect in a sealable plastic bag any material your pet may have vomited or chewed.
If you witness your pet consuming material that you suspect might be toxic, do not hesitate to seek emergency assistance, even if you do not notice any adverse effects. Sometimes, even if poisoned, an animal may appear normal for several hours or for days after the incident.
Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
The telephone number is (888) 426-4435. There is a $60 consultation fee for this service.
Be ready with the following information:
- The species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved.
- The animal’s symptoms.
- Information regarding the exposure, including the agent (if known), the amount of the agent involved and the time elapsed since the time of exposure.
- Have the product container/packaging available for reference.
Please note: If your animal is having seizures, losing consciousness, is unconscious or is having difficulty breathing, telephone ahead and bring your pet immediately to your local veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic. If necessary, he or she may call the APCC.
Keep the telephone number of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center-(888) 426-4435-as well as that of your local veterinarian, in a prominent location.
Invest in an emergency first-aid kit for your pet. The kit should contain:
- A fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide, 3 percent USP (to induce vomiting)
- A turkey baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe (to administer peroxide)
- Saline eye solution
- Artificial tear gel (to lubricate eyes after flushing)
- Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid (for bathing an animal after skin contamination)
- Forceps (to remove stingers)
- A muzzle (to protect against fear- or excitement-induced biting)
- A can of your pet’s favorite wet food
- A pet carrier
Always consult a veterinarian or the APCC for directions on how and when to use any emergency first-aid item.