Pet Safety and Holiday Temptations

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PHOTO: ANGABE SCHMIDECKER/FPG
Although a horse could probably tolerate a candy cane, if you care about pet safety give your dog or cat some other treat.

Dear Andrea:

During the holiday season we often invite relatives and friends over to our house for dessert. One thing that really irks me is when I see my guests sneaking candy to our dog, Iggy. They might think it’s a nice treat, but I’m the one up all night caring for Iggy and his upset stomach. Isn’t too much sugar dangerous for a dog?

Amy Mason
Evansville, Indiana

Dear Amy,

Yes. Pets should be kept on their regular diet. Holiday treats — such as chocolate, cookies, pies, and cakes — look and taste great but can be extremely harmful to four-legged friends. I’ve attempted to explain this to my parents for years now, but they still feed their 60-pound beagle apple pie. (He spits out the apples and swallows the crust.) Chocolate delicacies can be extremely toxic to pets, and many will cause hyperactivity. If you think children get giddy after too much sugar, wait until you see a pup after too many candy canes!

While on the subject of pet safety and holiday temptations, another source of danger to pets are plants. Christmas rose, holly mistletoe, and philodendron are poisonous to cats and dogs. Keep the plants off of the floor or out of sight. Cats and puppies are particularly prone to getting into ivy.

Deter your pet from drinking the Christmas tree water by keeping a fresh supply available at all times. Don’t let guests put ribbons and other wrappings around a pet’s neck. While your pet may look precious, it’s not worth the risk of having him or her choke on them.