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Holiday Treats and Decorations Can Be a Deadly Combination for Pets
Date:12/19/2008

How to Avoid a Trip to the Animal ER this Holiday Season

Kansas City, Kan., December 18, 2008 - The veterinary specialists at Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center of Kansas City (VSEC) wish to warn pet owners of the potential hazards that commonly take place during the holiday season. Every holiday season VSEC sees a rise in the number of emergency patients presented for having ingested such harmful items as decorations, toys and toxic foods commonly found around the home.

"It is only natural that our pets, as a member of the family, also join in on our holiday parties and gatherings," says Dr. Jeff Dennis, DVM, ACVIM, an internist with Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Services of Kansas City. "People forget how inquisitive dogs and cats can be. Our four-legged best friends are intrigued by the shiny decorations and smelly treats traditionally found during this time of year."

Dr. Dennis recommends the following precautions for pet owners this holiday season:

Chocolate in sufficient quantities can be quite toxic to dogs and cats. "Baking chocolate is the worst kind," says Dr. Dennis. "The darker the chocolate the more toxic it is."

Bones are never a safe treat for our pets. Many emergencies are the result of bones getting stuck in the esophagus, stomach and intestines. Dogs will chew on anything of interest. Owners need to be aware that non-digestible items such as toys and articles of clothing can become lodged in the intestines causing a blockage or even a perforation. Loss of appetite, vomiting, and abdominal pain are common complaints.

Christmas trees can also prove hazardous to our pets. Dogs can suffer severe burns from chewing on the electrica
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