Pets are curious , and pets love to eat. That can make a dangerous combination any day of the year, but especially so around Christmas. With so many new and interesting scents and sights, most cats and dogs just have to investigate. Do you know what hazards to watch for? You might be surprised at the items that are dangerous for pets, but fine for humans.
- Onions and garlic: They contain sulfur compounds that can cause digestive problems and harm red blood cells. While few of us would ever feed a cat or dog onions or garlic, they are often ingredients in many soups, roasts and casseroles.
- Grapes and Raisins: Yummy and healthy for people, grapes and raisins can be deadly to dogs. They can trigger vomiting, diarrhea and kidney failure.
- Macadamia nuts: Just a handful can cause real problems. There’s a toxin that can lead to muscle weakness, sometimes paralysis, vomiting and diarrhea. Macadamia nut poisoning isn’t fatal, though, and most pets recover within 48 hours.
- Medications: Nobody would deliberately leave medications out for a pet to eat, but if left out, dogs can crush the bottle easily and get to the contents inside. Keep pets away from all medications—keep the bottles in a drawer or cabinet.
- Plants: a surprising number of plants are poisonous to cats and dogs, including lilies, poinsettias and others.
- Sugar substitutes: Xylitol is a common sweetener used in many sugar-free candies, gums, baked goods and toothpastes (it’s sometimes listed as a sugar alcohol) and can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs. Small amounts can cause big trouble, so resist the urge to give your dog a bite of Christmas cookie!
Often, pets find the dangerous materials by rooting through the trash. Make sure tempting scents aren’t available, and keep the trash can secured in an area where it’ll stay safe.