Photo by Lianne Matieschin (liannematieshinphotography.com) for WCVM.
Photo by Lianne Matieschin (liannematieshinphotography.com) for WCVM.

Protecting pets over the holidays

Tis the season to spend time with family and friends—but don’t forget about your pets!

Over the past year, senior veterinary students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) have gathered information to help keep pets safe during the holidays. Their efforts are part of a wellness course taught by Drs. Jordan Woodsworth and Dr. Karen Sheehan, clinical associates at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre. Based on their work, here are some helpful tips for pet owners.

Foods to avoid

There is a lengthy list of foods to avoid sharing with Fido or Fluffy—up to and including onions and garlic (which can cause red blood cells to rupture), fruitcake (as raisins and grapes may cause kidney failure) and bread dough (the yeast can cause stomach pain and distention).

And while chocolate is a sweet treat for humans, even small amounts can make cats and dogs sick—with larger doses being potentially toxic.

No bones about it

Avoid giving poultry bones to pets, as they may splinter easily, which can lead to intestinal blockages or lacerations.

Decorating disaster

Ensure the tree is well secured and try to place the decorations above paw height. If possible, use non-breakable ornaments and avoid tinsel; cats and dogs may ingest these decorations, potentially risking intestinal damage and infection of the abdominal cavity. Cords for lights should be made inaccessible to pets, especially chewing puppies and exploring kittens.

Read more helpful tips about keeping your pets safe during the holidays at WCVM Today.

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