The upcoming Thanksgiving holiday comes with its own set of hazards for the household pets. Here’s a quick review:
Holiday meals can create a variety of medical emergencies for pets. For the dogs and cats in the house, chicken and turkey bones can get stuck in/pierce any portion of the digestive tract. Turkey bones are hollow and will splinter when your pet bites down on them.
Keep the trash can out of reach of the pets also, as the string used to tie the turkey legs together, the red plastic pop-up timer and the plastic bag that the turkey came in all smell like, well, turkey, and carnivorous pets can ingest those, causing life-threatening obstructions requiring expensive emergency intervention.
Rich, fatty foods can cause sudden, painful pancreatitis or gaseous bloat (the life-threatening kind). Keep holiday foods, leftovers, and table scraps out of reach of your pet. While rabbits and guinea pigs are not going to be interested in turkey, it IS tempting to hand over bits of apple or fresh cranberry as you prepare your meal. An unfamiliar fruit or more than just a tidbit of the fruits or veggies they are familiar with can cause gastric distress (which can be fatal in rabbits and rodents).
If you want your pet participating in the feast, a small bit of a gourmet treat from Animal Snackers bakery is your safest bet (and proceeds go to to the Humane Society of Greater Dayton). The Sesame Snackers crackers contain no meats and are greatly enjoyed by the bunnies at my house.
The bulbs of onions, garlic, and chives used in preparing stuffing and other Thanksgiving dishes are toxic to dogs and especially to cats and rabbits, owing to the large amounts of allycin contained within the bulbs. Ingestion of these items can cause destruction of red blood cells, resulting in anemia.
Chocolate, of course, is toxic in large quantities (the darker the chocolate, the worse it is for the pet) and enough chocolate can kill a dog or cat or rabbit.
Watch those decorations
Holiday decorations can be dangerous for pets – tinsel and tinsel garlands are indigestible. If you use these items you must keep them out of the reach of pets (easier said than done, those tinsel strands fly all over the place). You are better off not using tinsel.
Electrical cords must be concealed from rabbits, guinea pigs and other chewing animals. You can conceal exposed cords by encasing them in plastic tubing (found at hardware stores). Split the tubing lengthwise with a utility knife and then shove the cord inside of the tubing. Rabbits and other small pets have an instinct to quickly sever cords or strings (in the wild, they do not want tree roots, etc. blocking their paths of escape) and cardiogenic shock from chewing on a live electrical cord is a very real danger to these small pets.
Burning candles and fireplaces should be supervised at all times – curious pets can bat at the moving flames or just knock the candles over hopping or running past them. Clever creatures such as rats will climb right up on the table to inspect candles. A safer idea is flameless candles.
There are also anecdotal reports of rabbits and other small pets displaying upper respiratory symptoms such as sneezing and coughing in reaction to scented candles. Rabbits, rats, guinea pigs and the like have a significantly keener sense of smell than do humans, so even the more lightly scented fragrance candles may cause a reaction. If you notice such symptoms, extinguish any scented candles or other room fragrance dispensers and see if this eliminates the symptoms. Please note that Michael’s and Hobby Lobby craft stores in Dayton carry a large variety of unscented candles.
The debate as to the toxicity of holiday plants such as Poinsettia and Mistletoe rages on. It’s not worth taking a chance; keep these plants out of the pets’ reach.
Finally, fall decorations utilizing raffia and other such interesting (to the rabbit or guinea pig) materials can cause a blockage if enough is ingested (even cats may decide raffia looks tasty). Keep these out of the reach of the small pets.
It is usually best to keep the pets in another room or in an xpen where they are not underfoot. YOU may be used to watching where you step, but your guests likely are not. The noise and hubbub of the holiday can also stress out your pets to the point of physical illness.
Make sure the holidays are happy ones for the pets, too. If the unthinkable happens, make sure you know where the emergency clinics are located:
The Dayton Emergency Veterinary Clinic
2714 Springboro Pike West
(937) 293-2714 or 1-800-289-1165
The Dayton Care Center for Animal Emergency & Critical Care
6405 Clyo Rd, Centerville
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