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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Help pets be safe for the holidays

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Holidays include many fun and meaningful traditions shared with family, friends and even pets. However, some of those traditions – particularly those that relate to food – can be hazardous to pets. The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association encourages families to plan ahead for holiday celebrations and be mindful of ways that beloved pets can safely partake in holiday festivities.

Note key aspects for pet owners to consider when planning for holiday celebrations:

Small amounts of boneless turkey are OK. If you’re going to share a bit of holiday turkey with your pet, make sure it is boneless and fully cooked; undercooked turkey, which invites bacteria and salmonella, could make your pet sick. Also, never give your pet a poultry bone or carcass to chew on as these can cause choking and digestive problems. Best to keep all treats – including turkey – to a minimum as too much can cause upset tummies.

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Dough is a no-no! Baked goods are a holiday staple, but it’s important to know that yeast dough can make pets very ill. Ingested raw dough expands and ferments and can cause bloated, drunken pets, which quickly can become a medical emergency. Keep the 24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline (888-426-4435) and your veterinarian’s phone number in a prominent place in the event of an emergency.

Other foods and decorations can be dangerous to pets. Keep these foods and other items far away from pets:

  • Ham, bacon and other sodium-rich meats
  • Turkey twine
  • Corn on the cob
  • Garlic and onions
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Chocolate, nuts, and artificial sweeteners (Xylitol) and products containing them
  • Floral centerpieces containing Autumn Crocus, Chrysanthemum, or acorns from oak trees

Road-tripping with pets. While traveling can be fun for humans, it’s not as much fun for pets. In fact, new places, routines, and a hectic pace can be stressful for them. Make sure you bring along a favorite toy or blanket to keep them as comfortable as possible. If you’re traveling by plane, bring a copy of your pet’s medical records and be sure their ID tags are secure and visible.

Submitted by Ray McGury for Chicago Veterinary Medical Association

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