LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock Animal Services said on Thursday that holiday health hazards are all-around, which is why it’s important to keep a close eye on your pets this weekend.
“When you start putting out decorations, the animals are going to be curious. They’re going to start inspecting them,” Steven Greene, the director of LAS said. “Tinsel is really bad. Cats want to play with it, and it can cause a lot of blockage in their intestines.”
Holly, ivy, mistletoe, poinsettia and Christmas cactus are all toxic to pets if ingested.
Greene said garlic, onions and foods with spice could hurt animals’ stomachs, along with baker’s chocolate. He also discouraged people from feeding turkey bones to their pets, as they can easily break and cause harm.
While consumption of these toxins may not always be lethal, it can cause an array of health problems.
From diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy, to changes in behavior and aggression, LAS said any unusual changes in behavior might indicate that your pet has consumed something poisonous.
“Anything that can be toxic or an issue, you want to have that up where the pets can’t [reach],” he said.
If you think your pet has been poisoned, Greene said you should call a veterinarian, a local animal emergency clinic or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-800-548-2423. You can also contact the Texas Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
“You’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to things they possibly could have ingested,” Greene suggested.
Greene also said it’s important to monitor your animals’ stress levels during the holidays.
“If they seem like they’re getting anxious or stressed, you may want to put them in a bedroom or keep them away from guests, especially if you have an animal or a dog that’s territorial,” he explained. “And you always want to watch children around animals. Young children may pull a dog’s tail, may pick up a cat that doesn’t want to be handled.”
He said, under stressful conditions, there’s always a chance “a bite or scratch could happen.”
To view the full list of winter and holiday health hazards for animals released by the Texas Department of State Health Services and Zoonosis Control, click here.