Holiday Pet Safety

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From snacking on human treats to biting colorful light bulbs, as the winter holiday season draws closer, pet owners must keep an even more watchful eye on their furry, four-legged friends.

In 2011, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, policyholders spent more than $22.8 million on medical conditions commonly associated with the holidays.

The company recently sorted its database of more than 485,000 insured pets to determine the 10 most common holiday-related medical conditions last year.

Here are the results:
Potential holiday hazards and causes:

1. Gastritis (vomiting); Ingesting “people” food, holiday plants (lilies, hollies and mistletoe) and Christmas tree water.

2. Enteritis (diarrhea); Eating “people” food and scraps.

3. Colitis (loose or bloody stool); Eating “people” food; holiday stress

4. Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas); Eating fatty “people” food such as roasts, gravy, nuts, egg nog, etc.

5. Gastric foreign body, medical (foreign object in the stomach); Ingesting Christmas tree decorations, ribbon, small gifts and bones from holiday meats.

6. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (bloody vomiting and diarrhea); Eating people food, holiday stress.

7. Intestinal foreign body, medical (foreign object in the intestines); ingesting tinsel, other Christmas tree decorations and bones from holiday meats.

8. Gastric foreign body, surgical (surgical removal of foreign object from the stomach); Unable to pass Christmas tree decorations and bones.

9. Intestinal foreign body, surgical (surgical removal of foreign object from the intestines); Unable to pass tinsel, ribbons and bone fragments.

10. Methylaxanthine toxicity (chocolate toxicity); Eating chocolate or other caffeinated products.
***Although death only occurs in approximately 1 in every 3,000 chocolate intoxication cases, the ingestion of chocolate could result in vomiting, diarrhea, urination, hyperactivity heart arrhythmias, tremors and seizures.

Whether it’s chocolate or other harmful objects, in order to ensure a safe holiday season, pet owners should safeguard their homes and protect their furry friends from potential holiday dangers.