Just ask Gus

December 3, 2008

Dear Gus: This is my first Christmas. Aside from all the cool gifts I know I’m going to get, is there anything else I should know?
~ Snowbelle

GusDear Snowbelle:
Christmas is a very exciting time for both humans and pets alike, with all the great smells and new things around the house, it’s easy for a pet to get into mischief. The biggest risks during the holidays are to your stomach. Certain holiday plants can be toxic to cats and dogs alike. Eating Mistletoe berries, Holly leaves and their berries and Poinsettia plants can lead to gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting and diarrhea.

If you’re a Golden like me, the culinary delights of the holidays are almost too much to resist. But proceed with caution. We all know that chocolate is a big no-no, but the semisweet “bakers” chocolate used in many holiday delights is particularly toxic to pets. So steer clear. It may also be tempting to sample some of the cocktails your humans serve their guests, but beware. As little as three ounces of liquor for a small pet can cause it to stop breathing. Of course, the house will be filled with all kinds of new and special foods, and some of your human’s guests may be tempted to share theirs with you. However, straying too far from your normal diet, particularly eating fatty foods, may lead to pancreatitis.

The sights and sounds of the holidays can also pose potential dangers. Tinsel is particularly attractive to our cat friends, but can cause life threatening intestinal blockages, as can the Styrofoam in ornaments or packing materials.

Now I know it is tempting to rip open all of the packages when your humans are out of the house, to see which ones are for you, but be wary of ribbons and bows. These can also lodge in your intestinal tract and result in a very unpleasant trip to the emergency vet for surgery. The batteries used in many of the gifts humans give each other can also cause a wide range of problems if you chew on them. The acid in them can burn your mouth and metal shards from the casing can cause lacerations. If swallowed, more than likely you will have to have them surgically removed to eliminate the risk of internal injury.

The holidays are a great time of year filled with lots of love and special things. Follow these rules and you should have a happy and healthy New Year.
~ Gus

Have a question for Gus? Send it to www.seespotshop@qwest.net.