by ANDREW M. STREIBER, DVM

Q:  With Christmas but weeks away, would you please highlight the potential dangers this holiday season may pose for both cats and dogs?

A:  While the holidays are a time for gathering in celebration, they also carry the risk of being a gastrointestinal disaster for cats and dogs.  As discussed in a previous post,  the list of potential problem causers is extensive and not limited to traditional holiday foods.  ANY dish served during this particular time of year, whether due to fat content, ingredients used, or amount ingested (or all three!) should be included on our list.  Also, ANY non-traditional canine or feline foods (especially when fed in an unusually high quantity) have the potential to cause harm to our furry companions.

But holiday hazards are not limited to the dinning room table.  Ornaments look like great toys to cats, and should they end up on the floor, may appear enticing to dogs as well.  Whether made of glass, plastic, porcelain or paper, they can go from being decorative to dangerous in a few quick bites.  In addition to foods and ornaments, seasonal decorative plants also pose a danger in a home with animals.  The list of plants toxic to animals is long: the Christmas rose, most in the Lily family, Poinsettias, Amaryllis, Narcissus, and Chrysanthemum are but handful of the more than 1600 toxic plants and flowers.

As this list of possible dangers is lengthy, it is by no means complete, but it does servs to highlight some of the more likely pitfalls the Holidays bring.  So, as you would for yourself, do the same for you pets – please act responsibly.  Happy Holidays!