Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

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Pawsitive Pondering: Tips for a Pet-Safe Holiday

Posted on Dec 11, 2013 by Lisa Ricard Claro   No Comments Yet | Posted in Uncategorized

Adorable? Me? Why, yes, I  am. You're welcome!

Adorable? Me? Why, yes, I am. You’re welcome!

Pawsitive Pondering has been updated! Please visit the sidebar slideshow for smiles, courtesy of our four-legged pals. The adorable Havanese above is my grand-dog, Chula. And speaking of our fur babies, what follows are a few reminders for keeping your pets safe during the holidays.

Food Sharing: The end-of-year brings a host of sweet treats and rich foods across our tables, and while we want to share the bounty with our furry companions, overindulgence is no better for them than it is for us humans.

Did you know? Raisins and grapes are known to cause renal failure in dogs. Onions and garlic cause Heinz body anemia in cats and dogs. Chocolate contains an alkaloid called “theobromine” which dogs and cats are unable to metabolize well. It can cause a host of dangerous side effects, including seizures and rapid heart rate which can lead to death.

Trash Talk: We all have a story (well, I do) about a dog who got into the holiday turkey and ate his way from neck to wing with nary a gastrointestinal complaint. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for most cats and dogs that chow down on leftover meat and bones.

Did you know? Poultry bones can splinter and fracture an animal’s gastrointestinal tract, so make sure the turkey carcass is kept well away from your pets and that any meat treats are bone free. And watch out for aluminum foil; if eaten by your pet it can cut his intestines and cause internal bleeding. Cleaning chemicals tossed into a trash bin alongside food remains can be accidentally ingested when a dog or cat runs off with a “treat” stolen from the family trash. Be careful!

Dangerous Décor: Holiday decorations are a must for most of us, but it pays to keep your pets in mind when you trim the tree and put Aunt Henrietta’s antique glass ornament collection on display.

Did you know? Poinsettias are beautiful but toxic to pets, as are holly and mistletoe which, if ingested, can create side effects ranging from oral irritation to hallucinations or death. Decorations, including gift wrap ribbon and tinsel, can pose a danger to the curious cat or dog resulting in serious intestinal trouble and blockages, and it isn’t unheard of for broken glass ornaments to be swallowed, leading to internal bleeding. Wrapped gifts containing food items will be sniffed out from under the tree and if your pooch is like mine, he’ll eat the ribbon, the wrap, the box and finish off the fruitcake for dessert—all of which could lead to disastrous results.

Now, y’all know that Writing in the Buff isn’t a place where negativity dwells, so in spite of all the worst-case-scenario stuff above, there’s positive stuff here, too. Read on, Buttercup!

For a comprehensive list of poisons and toxicities (and what to do about them) please visit Emergency Education. If you’ve never visited this site, please do, and take a little time to poke around. There is tons of great information for people who share their lives with fur-babies. This is a site you’ll want to bookmark.

And now, a story. 🙂  When my kids were little, we built a gingerbread house every Christmas. I mean a real one, with rolled dough and precise cut-outs. No kits for the Claro clan. The walls and roof were cemented with melted sugar and icing. We had a special slab of plywood that I covered with aluminum foil. This was then slathered with icing and coconut (for snow). The house sat on this and we decorated the house and surrounding “yard” with a ton of different candy. You name it, we probably used it. The only rule was that everything, except the plywood/foil base, had to be edible. We created some, uh, unique gingerbread houses, masterpieces all.

Many years ago our Golden Retriever, Riley—who I’m sure acted on orders from Tasha, our Samoyed—managed to get the gingerbread house down from its lofty perch. They ate everything. I am not exaggerating. There was nothing left but the bare plywood. Both dogs had the good grace to look humiliated upon discovery of their gastric escapade, but the damage was done.  At least, I reasoned, they didn’t dirty the carpet. On the contrary; so complete was their gingerbread house consumption that not even a speck of coconut or a stray jujube remained.

Had I known then what I know now about the dangers and toxicities of what they ate I would’ve hauled their furry butts to the vet. But I didn’t have a clue of the possible dangers to my four-legged beloveds, so off to bed I went. Morning came and I awoke to . . . poop! There was poop everywhere, Buttercup, from the dining room to the kitchen and living room, poop, poop and more poop! Let me tell you, this was quite a way to learn about what candy can do to a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. It ain’t pretty. Fortunately, Riley and Tasha survived their bad case of the “Cocoa Squirts” and lived to misbehave another day. Here are the miscreants:

Love the fluff you're in!

Love the fluff you’re in!

Playtime cannot be overrated people!

Playtime cannot be overrated people!

Do you have a pet story or a tip for keeping our furry pals safe through the holidays? Please share! Put yourself in the Buff and leave a comment. And don’t forget to check out the sidebar for the newest Pawsitive Ponderings.

Have a great week. See you next Wednesday for more of the naked truth.


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