By: Melanie Jackson
Certified Veterinary Technician at Pet Poison Helpline
The holiday season is in full swing and gatherings are well under way with family and friends alike. As you trim the tree and decorate your home keep your pets in mind and take steps to keep them safe during the holidays.
Each year around the holidays we can predict fairly well what types of exposure calls we will see a rise in and many of these situations are avoidable.
Dogs tearing open and ingesting the contents of wrapped food item presents from under the Christmas tree are a common call during the holiday season. This can be an unexpected emergency when those gifts contain ingredients like chocolate or are baked with items such as raisins. Potentially even more of an issue when the owner of the pet does not know what was in the package because it was a gift from someone.
While wrapping packages to place under the tree this year or when the family arrives for a gathering, don’t be afraid to ask if any of the gifts to be placed under the tree or on the floor contain food items. These gifts should be placed up off the floor and out of your dog’s reach to help prevent accidental ingestions and serious health issues from occurring. Should a wrapped present ingestion still occur, make every attempt to accurately identify what the package contained and call Pet Poison Helpline for further assessment of the situation and for medical advice for your pet.
Melanie joined SafetyCall in June 2009 after becoming a veterinary technician in 2008, while concurrently working at a small animal emergency practice. Currently she is attending the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota with an expected graduation of May 2015. Her home is shared with her 2 cats and a dog. In the future, along with continuing to be a part of the SafetyCall/Pet Poison Helpline team, Melanie hopes to practice mixed animal medicine in rural Minnesota.