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    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 10 - Liquid Potpourri)


    DAY 10: Liquid Potpourri

    Some of the nicest things about the holidays are the smells, wouldn't you agree? Whether it's the smell of a fresh cut Christmas tree, cookies baking in the oven, or a crackling wood fire – the smells make this time of year is so enjoyable.

    Liquid potpourri is a substance that can create or help to mimic some of those wonderful holiday smells. And while these oily liquids can fill a house with a sensory overload of wonderful aromas without all the 'hassle' of baking cookies, lighting a fire, or cutting down a pine tree, they also pose a very real, and potentially very significant, hazard to your pets - especially your cats.

    Be aware

    Liquid potpourris typically contain two substances that can be toxic to your pets - essential oils and cationic detergents. Whether or not they're specifically listed on the label, they're almost always present, albeit in varying concentrations.

    While the essential oil component of the liquid potpourris can cause problems for your pets (depending on the type and concentration of the essential oil), typically it’s the cationic detergents that cause the bigger problems.

    The cationic detergents present in liquid potpourri can cause severe ulceration and chemical burns to the surfaces within your pet's mouth and along their digestive tract. They can cause similar problems if they come into contact with their skin or their eyes, too.

    As you might imagine, burns within your pet’s mouth, or anywhere along their digestive tract, can be extremely painful. This pain often causes affected pets to go off their food, and this, in turn, can lead to a whole other set of problems. Of particular concern, especially if your cat is overweight or obese, is the development of hepatic lipidosis.

    If the concentration of the detergents within the potpourri is high enough, and the burns sustained severe enough, your pet could wind up with a perforated ulcer, or hole, in their esophagus. This carries a very poor prognosis for survival, sometimes even in spite of appropriate and timely treatment.

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    Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Cat Safety, pet poison control, Hepatic Lipidosis, Pet emergency, Cationic detergents, Do not induce vomiting, Liquid Potpourri

    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 6 - Ornaments)


    DAY 6: Ornaments & Other Tree Decorations

    From cuts on paws from those that break to gastrointestinal obstruction from those that get ingested, ornaments and other Christmas tree decorations pose a wide array of hazards to your pets. It’s this scope of problems and the prevalence of such decorations in homes this time of year that make Christmas tree decorations the 'poster children' for Day 6 of our The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series.

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    Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, holiday pet safety tips, String, Dog Booties, Christmas pet hazards, Pet emergency, To pull or not to pull, Cats and string, Bandages, Use of bandages, Septic peritonitis

    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 5 - Lilies)


    DAY 5: Lilies

    While lilies don’t exactly ‘scream’ Christmas – flowers do – and lilies are amongst the most common types of flowers found in bouquets at all times of the year, including Christmas.

    Lily toxicity is something everybody should be aware of, regardless of whether or not they have cats. Even non-cat owners need to know about this because they may well be the one to send you or bring over your next bouquet of flowers! If they’re not aware of the danger they won’t know to advise the florist that lilies should not be included in the bouquet.

    Lilies Kill Cats!
    Stargazer lilies, Rubrum lilies, Tiger lilies, and the other members of the Lilum genus, the ‘true lilies’ as they are known, are highly toxic to cats. So too are certain types of Day lilies.

    These types of lilies are so toxic, that a nibble on one or two petals, a lap of spilled vase water, or the ingestion of a small amount of pollen (such as what happens when a cat grooms itself) can be enough to put a cat into expensive, debilitating, and potentially fatal acute kidney failure.
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    Topics: Cat Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, toxicity in cats, Lilies, Tiger Lily, Lily Toxicity in Cats, Stargazer Lily, Lily Flowers, Rubrum Lily, Plants Poisonous for Cats, pet poison control, Poison control, Poison control for cats, Christmas pet hazards, Flowers

    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 3 - Mistletoe)


    DAY 3: Mistletoe

    Before you pucker up to kiss your sweetheart, be sure that bunch of mistletoe is well secured to the door jam. Though a strategically placed sprig of mistletoe may get you that Christmas "snog" you've been dreaming about all year, it may also land your dog or cat in the hospital if it falls to the ground or they find another way to get their paws on it.

    Be aware

    Even when eaten in small quantities, mistletoe can cause your pets excessive drooling and digestive upset. The latter of which may manifest as vomiting and diarrhea - which kinda ruins the thought of the previously mentioned snog I guess, doesn't it? But even bigger problems are in store for your pet if they ingest a larger quantity of this common Christmas decoration.

    In these situations your pet may experience heart and/or neurologic problems, which could include abnormal heart rate and rhythm, decreased blood pressure, and a staggered walk. If left untreated, these signs can progress to collapse, seizures, coma, and even death. Now I've really ruined the thought of the snog, haven't I? I'm sorry, truly, I am... but you really should be aware of this.

    If your pet has ingested any quantity of mistletoe...

    ...you should seek immediate veterinary advice. You can do so from your regular veterinarian, the local Animal ER, or from a dedicated animal poison control hotline . Though severe toxicity from mistletoe is uncommon, many factors will influence the degree of toxicity your pet will experience should they be unfortunate enough to ingest it. And as with all potential or known toxicities, you should not delay in seeking professional veterinary advice. The sooner appropriate actions are taken, the greater the chances that a better outcome will be realized.

    Preventing mistletoe toxicity

    • If you hang mistletoe in your home, be sure it's well secured.
    • Take the berries off of any mistletoe you hang in your home.
    • Be careful when putting up (and taking down) your holiday decorations; do not leave the mistletoe laying around where your pets can get to it.
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    Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, toxicity, Plants Poisonous for Cats, holiday pet safety tips, Vomiting, Poison control, Christmas pet hazards, Diarrhea, Neurological problems, Plants Poisonous for Dogs, Mistletoe

    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 1 - Tinsel)


    DAY 1: Tinsel

    Cats and tinsel can be an expensive combination, and it can prove fatal, too!

    Tinsel is often a very attractive toy for cats. After all, its shiny, it dangles, and it’s something new in their environment. Few cats can pass it up – and even fewer can "pass it out."

    When cats play with tinsel, they often end up swallowing some or getting some wrapped around their tongue, and this is when their nightmare (and yours) will begin. Fortunately, with awareness and some simple preventive steps, this is a common pet emergency that you can easily avoid. Read on to learn how...

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    Topics: Cat Health, Cat Safety, Christmas pet hazards, To pull or not to pull, Linear Foreign Body, Tinsel, Dangerous Cat Toys, Pet Hazard, Cat Toys

    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 9 - Ribbons & Bows)


    DAY 9: Ribbons & Bows

    You’d be forgiven for thinking that curly ribbon and gift bows are good toys for your cats – after all, pictures and videos of playful cats rolling around with such objects can be found everywhere online, on television, and in print ads. But we in the veterinary profession also want pet owners to be aware that another place we commonly see kittens and cats playing with Christmas ribbons – or at least the debilitating and expensive results of such activities – is in the veterinary clinics and Animal ERs all across the country.

    This article will tell you what you need to know to recognize, react, and prevent this common holiday pet hazard. So dig in, read on, and don’t forget to share this information with your friends and family.

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    Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, holiday pet safety tips, Vomiting, Christmas pet hazards, Pet safety and houseguests, Linear Foreign Body, Cats and string, Diarrhea, Hiding, Septic peritonitis

    How to Make a First-Aid Kit for Cats


    When your pet suffers an injury, knowing what to do (and what not to do) can significantly affect your pet’s healing and recovery time. It can also help your emotional stress, because you will have a plan of action to follow. Taking a pet first aid class  is an excellent idea, but of course, you also need to make sure you have the supplies necessary to administer first aid if and when the time comes. Do you have a pet first aid kit?

    Below is a list of items every pet owner should include in their pet’s first aid kit. Depending on your particular pet’s medical history, you may need additional items, as well. It’s always a good idea to talk with your veterinarian to ensure that your own pet’s first aid kit is as complete as possible.

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    Topics: Cat Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, First Aid, Pet First Aid Kits, cat first aid, Pet First Aid, Pet First Aid Supplies, Pet First Aid Kit

    Cat Travel Restraints: Necessary for safety and easy to use!


    Traveling with your cat can be an adventure. While a lot of cats don’t enjoy car rides, you can make the trip more comfortable and safe for them by restraining them properly. This will protect them from flying around the car, keep them from getting under your feet, and save you from becoming your cat’s jungle gym.

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    Topics: Cat Safety, Safety, travel anxiety, Travel, Restraints, Harness, Crates, Trucks, Carriers, Traveling with your cat

    Pets and Pacifiers – When children and animals don’t mix

    Welcoming a new baby into your family and home is truly one of the greatest joys in life. But if you’re a pet owner, this great joy can also come with a host of new things to consider. Children and pets can adore each other and grow up as great allies, but they can also cause each other harm – whether intentional or not. It’s imperative to plan ahead and take necessary precautions in order to avoid emergencies and create a home that is comfortable for all family members – pets included. 

    Here are some quick facts you should be aware of when bringing your new baby into your life with pets (or a new pet into your life with children):

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    Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, Dog Bite Prevention, Child Pet safety, Benefits of Growing Up with Pets, Dog Bite, Cat Stress, Cat Bite, Children and dogs, Children and Cats

    Is Pet Insurance Worth It For Your Cat? A Veterinarian's Perspective.

    The most common question pet owners ask about pet insurance is: "Is pet insurance worth it?" It’s a valid question and one worth exploring.

    I think that people often have the wrong attitude about pet insurance. For example, it's not uncommon for someone to say they would rather just open up a savings account to pay their veterinary expenses rather than "waste" money on pet insurance premiums. This person doesn't understand the purpose of pet insurance.

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    Topics: Cat Safety, pet insurance cost, pet insurance, pet health insurance, vet pet insurance, pet medical insurance, pet insurance is it worth it, is pet insurance worth it, veterinary pet insurance, doug kenney, should I buy pet insurance

    Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

    Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

    Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.