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Please Check the Safety of your Christmas Decorations! by Dr. Brenda Gough

We have recently been informed that some Christmas trees (real, not fake) are coated with a paint that contains ethylene glycol.  Ethylene glycol is a substance usually found in antifreeze, which is highly toxic to pets.

Ethylene glycol toxicity is seen often in veterinary clinics, and in order to be successfully treated, the pet must be seen within minutes of ingestion. We need to induce vomiting right away and use activated charcoal to prevent further absorption, followed by intravenous therapy with the antidote, and careful monitoring of the patient.  Time is of the essence with this toxin!

Without this, ethylene glycol ingestion is ALWAYS fatal, as it causes complete failure of the kidneys.

There are many other potential hazards that face our pets around Christmas time.  These hazards include:

  1. Tinsel and other small decorations that can cause foreign body blockages in cats and dogs.
  2. Chocolate!!  Especially the dark chocolates.
  3. Candles (can be easily knocked over and cause a fire and burns)
  4. Christmas plants (pine needles, holly, poinsettias, and mistletoe)
  5. Christmas dinner!  Leftovers can cause pancreatitis, and the bones can cause choking or obstruction hazards
  6. Xylitol toxicity – for those baking sugar free goodies – xylitol is extremely toxic and often fatal to dogs who ingest these treats.
  7. Electrical cords – very attractive for pets to chew on, causing electrical burns and even cardiac arrest.
  8. Fertilizer in the base water of real Christmas trees.

Keep an eye out for all of these potential hazards, and make sure you ask lots of questions when choosing a real Christmas tree.

This is just a short list of things that can go wrong over Christmas!  Keep your pets safe and give them all a big smooch from all of us at Park Road!

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