Tips to ensure a safe holiday for pets

WASHINGTON — Holiday gatherings can be dangerous for pets.

“People are going to feed them stuff they shouldn’t.” So certified animal behavior consultant Darlene Arden says you should be prepared.

“Get an emergency phone for your veterinarian or the nearest either emergency clinic or major veterinary teaching hospital. Because if you have to go — time is of the essence,” Arden says.

People foods that can poison pets include garlic, onions, coffee, chocolate, grapes and raisins, milk, bones, yeast and fatty foods.

Rich or fatty foods like turkey skins or gravy can cause pancreatitis and serious inflammation of a digestive gland that can be extremely painful, according to the American Humane Society.

To prevent entering and exiting guests from enabling escape artists, Arden recommends keeping pets away from exterior doors during gatherings.

“Lock the dogs and cats in a separate room,” she advises.

Toothpicks in hors d’oeuvres can cause another potentially dangerous situation for pets.

“A toothpick, or two, getting stuck in the dog’s system is a run to the emergency vet and probably a major surgery,” she warns.

If you suspect your pet is ill and needs medical care, experts recommend keeping a careful log of all the developing symptoms. Also collect and freeze vomit and stool samples to help a veterinarian determine whether your animal may have been intentionally poisoned.

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Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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