We are coming into the holiday season. It’s a wonderful time of the year. We want to include our pets in our festivities so they can joy them as much as we do. However, some of the things we eat or have around the house may be dangerous to our cat or dog.

No matter how much they beg to try the leftovers from your holiday dinner or parties resist the temptation to give them even just a little bite. Rich foods, especially those high in fat, can cause gastrointestinal problems in a pet. Sometimes it can develop into a serious condition.

Sharp bones, especially those from chicken or turkey, can become lodged in his throat or puncture the intestinal tract. It usually requires surgery to remove the bone slivers. If veterinary help isn’t received quickly, your pet may die. Give your cat or dog appropriate pet treats to enjoy instead.

Those lovely chocolates that are set out for the holidays could be fatal to your dog. Dogs are especially sensitive to theobromine, a substance found in chocolate. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias, wobbliness, muscle tremors, seizures and coma. It may sometimes be fatal. A 30-pound dog needs to eat only four ounces of baking chocolate to develop symptoms.

It takes two or three pounds of milk chocolate to give the same results. Try to keep all chocolate out of your dog’s reach. If he does eat some, call your vet. Cats are pickier eaters than dogs and are rarely poisoned by chocolate, but keep an eye on yours anyway.

Some dogs and many cats think ornaments and tinsel are the most intriguing toys ever. Unfortunately, many ornaments get eaten and end up in your pet’s intestinal tract. Cats, especially, find tinsel irresistible. If you have a cat you might want to avoid decorating with tinsel altogether.

Keep wrapping paper, plastic bags, and ribbon out of your pet’s reach. They can quickly go from being an amusing plaything to an intestinal blockage.

Many people decorate with poinsettias and mistletoe. These can cause problems for pets. Poinsettias have a milky sap that irritates their skin and eyes on contact and upsets the gastrointestinal tract if eaten. Eating large amounts of mistletoe can cause nausea, vomiting or gastroenteritis. Keep the plants out of their reach. If you do see your cat munching on your poinsettias or your dog gobbling up a few loose mistletoe berries, call your vet immediately for advice.

Cats and young puppies seem to find electrical cords delectable. Chewing on cords can cause severe burns or electrical shocks. If your pet shows an unhealthy interest in electrical cords try covering the cords with hot-pepper sauce or bitter-tasting commercial products sold in pet stores.

Don’t let your holiday celebration cause you to overlook the safety of your pets. Make the holiday season as safe for them as it is for you.

The Pittsburg County Animal Shelter is located at 1206 N West Street in McAlester. The phone number is 918-423-7803. The hours are 10:00 until 5:00 Tuesday through Friday and 10:00 until 2:00 on Saturday. The adoption fee for a dog is $20 and $15 for a cat. All have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

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