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Sneaky snacks can lead to holiday blues for your pets

As Hays County residents anticipate the holiday season, pet owners should also take precautions to keep their pets healthy.

Dr. Sandra Ontiveros, DVM at Manchaca Village Veterinary Care, shared some important safety tips for pets and their owners to enjoy the holidays safely.

Ontiveros said the holidays are a busy time for veterinarians as pets can get into things they shouldn’t. Visiting family and friends also tend to share their holiday foods with pets.

Ontiveros said visitors should resist the urge to feed the dog or cat scraps of food. She advises her own clients to keep the Pet Poison Hotline phone number handy in case pets get into something unknown to their owner.

Keeping pets away from chocolate is a good rule of thumb, but many pet owners may also be unaware of some other foods that can cause problems for their animals.

Cats and dogs should stay away from onions and garlic as they could cause an upset stomach.

“G.I. upset can cause a condition called pancreatitis which animals need to be hospitalized for,” Ontiveros said.

She cautioned against giving dogs raisins or grapes as they could lead to kidney issues.  Owners should also avoid giving dogs pastries with xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in baked goods, as it can cause low blood sugar.

Chewing hazards such as glow sticks and jewelry can be dangerous for pets and can cause mouth irritation or gastric obstructions, Ontiveros said.

For pet owners expecting visitors this holiday season, keeping tabs on pets behavior is also a critical factor. She said pets may become frightened or overwhelmed and could bite out of fear.

Food is not the only threat to pets’ safety during the holidays, she said.

Cats and dogs are both sensitive to poinsettias; lilies are extremely dangerous for cats.

Ontiveros suggested dogs stay away from mistletoe as well.

Open flame candles could also be a danger for cats as they could singe their fur or whiskers or even knock over candles. Pet owners should also keep decorations like tinsel, ornaments and electric cords away from pets.

Ontiveros said there are recipes for pet owners who want to make their furry friends a special treat for the holidays.

Ontiveros also said pet parents can purchase pet friendly treats from specialty stores as long as they read the ingredients to protect pets against allergic reactions.

“If you think your pet has ingested anything dangerous, consult a veterinarian or the Pet Poison Hotline,” Ontiveros said.

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