Pet proofing the holidays

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The holiday season is a busy time at Fresno Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center.

Decorations make the holidays shine a little brighter but they pose a threat to our four legged friends.

"They look like toys, so dogs like to play with them and sometimes swallow them. Cats like to knock them down and play with the pieces, so they can get hurt from that," said Dr. Katherine Burt, Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center.

Dr. Burt said she's seen it all-- tinsel, garland, and Christmas lights tend to be some of the more obvious things to avoid. But there are everyday items like space heaters and electric blankets that can be hazardous.

"Liquid popery is popular this time of year and cats like to play with it and can burn their mouths if they lick it."

Dr. Burt said decorative plants like poinsettias are irritants to our pets. Mistletoe, lilies, even pine trees can be hugely toxic.

"The water that they have in the base of the tree can be toxic because of the mold or because of the pine tree essence getting into the water."

It's not just what's on or under the tree, sometimes its what you're feeding Fido under the table that you have to worry about.

"Skin off the chicken or the turkey, ham, not a good idea for our pets," said Dr. Burt.

To put it in perspective Dr. Burt said,"A cube of cheese to us is like a cheese burger to a 10 or 12 lb dog."

Fatty foods, chocolate, macadamia nuts, and certain artificial sweeteners can cause major damage.

"They get some upset tummies that kinds of thing, but the worst case scenario is pancreatitis and it can be life threatening," said Dr. Burt.

It can happen to anyone-- even Dr. Burt has a holiday horror story. After her pup got out of its crate and into a friends chocolate stash..

"About a quarter to a half pound of sees chocolate which is a very toxic dose to a little dog."
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