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Laguna Beach Vets On Keeping Your Pets From Holiday Emergency Room Visits

Chocolate, pine needles, lights ... the holidays can be disastrous for pet owners, unless you take some simple steps.

Story submitted by the Laguna Beach Animal Hospital:

With the holidays right around the corner, Laguna Beach Animal Hospital is raising awareness about potential holiday pet health emergencies.

According to the hospital, one of the most common emergencies is chocolate or food poisoning in pets. Dogs can ingest chocolate candy from Halloween or onions from Thanksgiving food. Additionally, holiday decorations can also pose a potential health hazard. For pet owners seeking an animal emergency hospital, this facility is open six days a week with a veterinarian and veterinary personnel on duty to handle pet emergencies.

Laguna Beach veterinarian Dr. James A. Levin is warning pet owners about potential holiday safety hazards. From Halloween chocolate to strings of decorative lights, upcoming holidays pose seasonal pet health problems.

"The holidays are all about celebrating with family and friends," said Dr. Levin. "Amid all the celebration, however, it's important that pet owners remain vigilant about animal safety."

According to Dr. Levin, accidental chocolate ingestion is one of the leading causes for emergency pet care on Halloween. Chocolate contains theobromine, which dogs are unable to properly break down. Together with caffeine, this causes an unsafe increase in blood pressure, along with nausea and vomiting.

"Depending on the size of the dog and type of chocolate consumed, accidental chocolate ingestion can cause a pet to become very ill," said veterinarian Dr. Lara Alkofer. "We recommend emergency care at our animal hospital to prevent dehydration."

In addition to chocolate, consuming onions and garlic in Thanksgiving food can also make pets ill. Dr. Alkofer recommends that pet owners keep their pets away from the kitchen during food preparation.

"If pet owners are hosting a large party or dinner, the best option is to have a pet stay in another room or the pet may benefit for an overnight boarding stay at our animal hospital," said veterinarian Dr. Hays Fyke. "Pet owners will not need to worry about a guest feeding the pet or if the pet will eat leftovers and become ill. A house filled with new, unfamiliar people can also cause a pet to experience stress and anxiety."

Holiday decorations can also cause potential pet safety problems. Swallowed decorations may puncture the pet's intestine or cause pets to choke.

"When decorating the house, put your pet's safety first," said Dr. Fyke. "Regularly vacuum dry needles off the floor. Hang holiday lights high enough so that pets cannot reach them. Any cords should be covered and hidden from view."

In the event of a holiday veterinary emergency, Dr. Levin, Dr. Alkofer and Dr. Fyke provide emergency pet care six days a week during business hours; no appointment required.

helen evers December 05, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Thanks Dr. Levin for reminding everybody about the safety of those pets they love and let's not forget the dreaded tinsel that cats love too. Happy Holidays to you and your staff and thanks for all you do for the people of Laguna Beach. Helen Evers

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