Veterinarian’s Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday Pet Safety Tips from Our Veterinarians!

The holidays are upon us – full of food and festivities. But sharing our holiday food and fun with our furry friends can carry some serious health hazards for cats, dogs and other household pets. Follow these 6 Safety Tips from our veterinarians to keep your canine & feline companions safe during the holiday season!

- – - – - - Veterinarian Tip #1
Secure Your Christmas Tree.

El Segundo VeterinarianYour Christmas tree should be firmly secured in a tree stand to avoid the tree falling over and causing possible injury to your pet.  If you have young, active or particularly curious pets our veterinarians recommend securing the tree to the wall or ceiling for added security. Dangling ornaments can prove to be too great a temptation for even the best behaved cats and dogs, resulting in them toppling an unsecured tree. Similarly, a cat’s natural instinct to climb can make your tree an attractive hideout for your kitty – that can result in an accident if the tree is not secured.

Additionally, do not allow your pet to drink the “tree water”. Stagnant water can be a breeding ground for bacteria & can cause illness, nausea & vomiting in your pet. Make certain that the tree’s water is securely covered. Aluminum foil is ideal for this, as most cats and dogs do like its metallic feel on their teeth and will leave it alone.

El Segundo Veterinarian Tip #2
Skip the Tinsel

Though pretty & sparkly, it is better to forego the tinsel on your Christmas tree.  Cats love to play with tinsel - and if is is ingested it can cause an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration & possibly even require surgery.

Our experienced veterinarians have had to surgically remove tinsel, string and other dangling decorations from cats and dog’s intestines. Not only is this painful and traumatic for your pet, the costs of surgery can be very expensive.

El Segundo Veterinarian Tip #3
No Sharing People Food

Ah! The rich, delicious treats of the holidays: roast turkey, cookies, pies, and other buttery delights. You might be tempted to let your pet “indulge” in some special holiday table food.  But remember, these treats can be harmful and even fatal to dogs and cats.

El Segundo VeterinarianAbsolutely NO chocolate or bones should be given.  Many holiday “people foods” contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets, including: chocolate, grapes, raisins, and more. And, turkey bones can damage your pet’s digestive tract – even causing a blockage that requires surgery.

Other fatty foods – such as gravy or items containing butter – are hard for animals to digest. People food can often cause your pet gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, diarrhea and just feeling terrible.

The artificial sweetener xylitol – used in sugar-free baked goods (and gum) – can be fatal if eaten by dogs or cats. Remind your children not to leave any gum lying around - because gum often contains  “xylitol” .

Plan ahead & buy your pet their favorite “pet treat” – so they won’t be left out! But don’t share the people food.

El Segundo Veterinarian Tip #4
Keep Plants Out of the House

Holly, Mistletoe & Poinsettias can cause gastrointestinal illness and cardiac problems.

Many varieties of lilies cause fatal kidney failure in cats.

Many other decorative plants and flowers are toxic or fatal to pets, including: amaryllis, lilies, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, ferns, hydrangeas and many more.

So it is always best to be “on the safe side” and keep plants out of the house.

If you think your pet has been poisoned or may possibly have eaten something they shouldn’t have, call us, your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency clinic immediately. Fast action can save your pet’s life!

You can also call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 888-426-4435.

El Segundo Veterinarian Tip #5
Choose Safety Tested Toys

When shopping for that perfect holiday gift for your fur baby, make sure you choose gifts that are safe! Buying quality US made toys from reputable manufacturers – rather than “Dollar Store” or “Made in China” toys – helps protects your cat or dog from dangerous toys, so always read the label.

Avoid toys that your dog can chew open & ingest the stuffing or squeaker.  Ingesting these items can cause a gastrointestinal blockage or become lodged in the esophagus.

When selecting toys for your cat, also avoid long stringy toys that may be ingested & cause a blockage which may require surgery.

El Segundo Veterinarian Tip #6
Keep Pets Away from Visitors

Pets often become over stimulated by new people, crowds or lots of activity - and even a friendly dog may act out when stressed. Others become afraid – and some even become aggressive. Keeping your pets locked in a safe and comfortable place (with their favorite toys and snacks) makes holiday entertaining less stressful for them – and protects your guests from possible injury.

Additionally, guests “coming and going” leads to open doors and even unlatched gates! Keeping your cats or dogs secured in a separate room will help prevent your pets from wandering or getting lost. Also, make sure your pets have an up-to-date microchip, and tags with your current contact info. If your cat or dog is not yet microchipped, it is fast, easy and very affordable at our veterinary office.  Click Here to Read More

Make sure that your pet has a comfortable place to rest & feel safe and secure while you are entertaining.   Give them some quiet time, and always continue their normal exercise & feeding routine.

Our Veterinarians and Staff Wish You and Your Pets Safe & Happy Holidays!

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 (Closed Thur. 1 pm - 3 pm)
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 2705 N. Sepulveda Boulevard
  Manhattan Beach, CA 90266



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