Holiday Hazards - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Holiday Hazards

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WSVN -- During last year's holidays, Dennis Silver thought he had pet-proofed his home for his beloved dog Barney. What he didn't count on was his holiday guests messing that up.

Dennis Silver: "Our daughter came here with our grandchildren. We kept saying 'Don't leave anything out because he'll find it. He'll smell it."

Sure enough Barney sniffed out some holiday cheer in their open suitcase.

He tore into these chocolate gold coins.

Dennis Silver: "We saw wrappers on the floor of chocolate. Of course we panicked and said 'Oh my God, he ate them."

Since chocolate can be toxic for dogs, Barney was rushed to the vet's office and thankfully got help in time.

Dr. Andrew Turkell at Calusa Veterinary Center in Boca Raton says this is the most dangerous time of year for pets.

Andrew Turkell: "This is the busiest time of our year all because of holiday-induced hazards It's something we see every day."

Not only do we need to worry about over-eating during the holidays, we also need to worry about over-feeding our pets.

Andrew Turkell: "It creates inflammatory bowel disease, it creates pancreatitis, vomiting, diarrhea."

If you're going to feed them from the table, only give them lean meats. Vets say stay away from carbs and fats.

Also, watch out for open bags of candy or chocolate and keep them away from the tree.

Andrew Turkell: "The most common problem we find is pets drinking the water from the Christmas tree bowl, which has these chemicals in it, that can have serious effects on the kidney and liver."

You'll want to cover the bowl or use a boundary spray to keep pets away. Keep holiday plants like mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias out of reach too, and wrapped gifts may look shiny and pretty, but if a pet swallows tinsel or ribbon it means big trouble.

Andrew Turkell: "The string or the ribbon gets actually swallowed, you wind up with a life-threatening problem."

Pay attention to Christmas lights and electric cords, puppies and kittens love to chew on them.

Andrew Turkell: "They can wind up with massive burns in their mouth and they can be electrocuted."

And as much as we love our house guests, they can not only stress out our pets but they also bring potential harm with them.

Andrew Turkell: "They bring prescription meds and they're all out of sorts, they leave out their bottles of pills on table, they may fall down, these drugs are extremely dangerous."

After last year's emergency trip to the vet the Silver family will not only be watching out for Barney, but keeping a close eye on their guests.

Dennis Silver: "We're going to plan a little differently, and make sure the suitcases are locked."

Richard Lemus: "Vets say the biggest threat to dogs over the holidays are chocolate, macadamia nuts and raisins. So watch what you eat and what they eat."

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