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Keep your pets safe during the holidays with these tips

Dec 19, 2017 02:03PM ● By Staff Writer

The holidays are a time for families and friends to celebrate each other’s company; however, traditional holiday fare, ornaments and other holiday staples may pose a threat to your fur family, according to the Louisiana State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which sees an increase in digestive diseases among pets during the holidays.

Pets should be kept inside if the weather forecast calls for low temperatures. December and January weather can be chilly — even in Louisiana.

Chocolate treats are a treat for humans but a toxin for pets that can lead to gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and neurologic diseases that manifest in rapid heart rate, overexcitation, blood pressure, seizures and vomiting. Symptoms in animals include vomiting, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, diarrhea, an elevated heart rate and, in severe cases, seizures.

The remains of a candy craze — wrappers, aluminum foil, plastic wrap and ribbons, to name a few — can lead to digestive problems if eaten by dogs or cats. Large amounts of these items ingested can form a rope inside animals that can lead to severe intestinal obstructions that can be remedied only through surgical treatment. Choking hazards to children also pose a threat to the family dog or cat. Keep electrical cords and batteries out of Fido’s reach — electric shock poses a serious concern.

Keep the Christmas ham where it belongs: on the table. A delicious green bean casserole or other holiday delicacies can cause dogs to suffer from acute gastroenteritis or pancreatitis. Both diseases can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and listlessness. Bones can also lead to obstructions in the esophagus, stomach or intestine can lead to severe digestive maladies.

Steer your pooch or feline away from grapes, raisins and onions, as well as ornamental plants like poinsettias, mistletoe and holly.

Call the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital at 225-578-9600 or visit to learn more about its services. Visit the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control website by clicking here.