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Holiday Tips: Including Our Animal Companions while Preventing Dangers

My dear friends With holiday season upon us I want to share with you some tips on how to prevent potential dangers to our animal companions and still include them in our holiday festivities. Here are 5 top holiday dangers to animals: 1. TINSELS & ORNAMENTS TINSELS are particularly attractive to cats and can cause a serious damage of intestines once swallowed as they bunch and twist inside and the body cannot expel them. Immediate veterinarian care is required, otherwise they can be fatal. I learned this myself the hard way with my cat Čert when he was about year and half old and had his first Christmas tree. This was about 14 years ago, before I reconnected with my animal communication ability and so I was pretty much living through this experience just like any of us would.

I always decorate my tree way lavishly and it has to be full of ornaments, garland and of course tinsels. Funny, that my other cat Little Shit never cared for tinsels even though he enjoyed the tree very much. So I didn't really expect anything different with Cert.

I made the tree the day before Christmas Eve as is the custom in my country because our big celebration is on Christmas Eve. Both cats were helping me to decorate and loving it and stayed by the tree all night.

The morning of Christmas Eve I noticed that Cert was a little gloomy and not his usual perky active self and he also threw up. I saw he threw up a few tinsels. Still not really suspecting anything I gave him his favorite tuna to make him feel better and he ate but threw up again and then a few times more still with tinsels but eventually just a foamy liquid. I was really busy cooking and preparing the evening meal as I had guests over but I decided to call his vet just to be sure that this is nothing serious.

Once I told the vet that Cert threw up tinsels they told me to bring him immediately. I was still not really alarmed, I thought they may just give him something to make him expel whatever he ate and he would be fine.

However that was not the case.

The doctor took X-rays and came out to tell me that apparently Cert ate a lot of tinsels and his entire digestive track was full of them. He needed an emergency surgery to remove it and I needed to make up my mind ASAP because the surgeon already left for home so they'd have to recall him - and since it was a holiday, the rate was double - $5,000. Plus Cert would stay in hospital for couple days, basically over the holidays.

I cannot describe the shock I was in.

First at that time I had no idea about the tinsel danger, second Cert was not looking all that sick to have this serious surgery. He also is very slim cat being half oriental and I couldn't imagine how can the surgeon even find his intestines leave alone clean then without tearing them to shreds. It also didn't help that a few weeks prior I'd read an article about dishonest vets performing unnecessary procedures on animals just to get money out of people.

After a bound of hysterical crying and carrying on (they actually had to move me from waiting room to private room as I was scaring the other waiting people :)) and calling my entire family in Czech Rep in, for them, an ungodly hour (like 3 am in their time) I decide to go ahead with the surgery. He was my baby and I didn't care how much money I would spend on him as long as he survived it. The vet send me home and said they would call me once the surgery was done.

After about two hours they did. The surgery was success and Cert lives.

The next day when I came to visit him, they showed me a full zip lock bag of tinsels they got out of his intestines. The doctor said he never saw a cat eat so much of it and if they hadn't performed the surgery he would have died.

My friend and I handpicked all the tinsels off the tree before Cert came home from the hospital and that was the end of tinsels or anything glittering on my tree from then on. I would not wish this experience on anyone as that particular Christmas came to be known as the Christmas with the most expensive Christmas tree in Los Angeles :). Beside tinsels also the ORNAMENTS can attract your animal's curiosity and if broken they can create a chocking hazard or lacerate animals intestines, throat or mouth if chewed or swallowed. Place any glass, aluminum or any other fragile ornaments higher up on the tree out of paws and noses reach. 2. HOLIDAY LIGHTING & CANDLES If your animal likes to chew, ropes of holidays light will be particularly attractive to him. Electrical shock can occur if your dog chomps down on electrical cord causing serious injury and possible death. Now some cats loves to chew on electrical cords as well so watch out for tale signs of nibbles or chewing and use a grounded three - prong extension cord as a safety precaution. CANDLES - common sense tells you not to leave burning candle unattended and it is right. Be sure to place the candle somewhere safe and unreachable for your pet. They can burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock a candle over. They can also burn their paws on hot wax. 3. HOLIDAY PLANTS

Some of our favorite holiday plants are a serious danger for our animal. POINSETTIA can cause serious irritation of stomach and vomiting. MISTLETOE has a similar affect and also can cause cardiovascular problems, difficulty breathing, collapse and even death. HOLLY and Christmas tree PINE NEEDLES also causes intense vomiting, diarrhea , depression and trembling. Any variety of LILIES can cause kidney failure in cats if even one leaf is digested. 4. HOLIDAY FOOD

By now you know not to feed your animal chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol. But really "human food" loaded with sugar, fat , processed ingredients and chemicals is not good for humans so why it would be good for our animals?

Give your animal some extra healthy treats to celebrate or even a piece of turkey breast will do just fine for the occasion.

Stay away from anything spicy, fatty, splintered bones and any scraps from the plates. Also some nuts are toxic to animals (almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, walnuts) and can cause in mild case of vomiting and nausea and in worse cases seizures and neurological episodes.

Keep your furry family members away from the food on the table and any unattended plates of food and secure the lids on garbage cans. Exercise same caution with your cocktails. If an animal ingests alcohol it can become sick an even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.


Discard any ribbons and bows wrapped around holiday gifts quickly so your animal is not tempted to play with it or chew on it as this is potentially serious chocking hazard if ingested. It can twist in animals intestines and require surgery very much like tinsels and if unattended, it can ultimately lead to death.


- CHRISTMAS TREE: No matter if your tree is real or fake make sure it is well secured and your animals cannot knock it over. Again speaking from my own experience when my cat Little Shit kept knocking the tree down every time I left the house to let me know he didn't want to be left alone. Fortunately nothing happened to him but animals can get hurt by a falling tree. Keep the tree water covered so your cat or dog doesn't drink from it. Nothing breeds bacteria more than stagnant tree water and your animal can get sick from it.

- HOUSE GUESTS: If you are entertaining for holidays, educate your guests about not feeding your animal scraps from plate or any unhealthy holiday foods. Provide your own bag of animal treats for them so they can still give something to your animal if they want to treat it. If you animal is shy and doesn't like to party, provide a quiet place to retreat to complete with food and water. It can be separate room, their carrier or even a large piece of furniture they want to hide under. Explain that to your guest and ask them to respect your animal's privacy.

- NEW YEAR'S EVE NOISE: A lot of animals, particularly dogs are terrified of fireworks. To make this moment as comfortable as possible for them, secure them just before the fireworks in the most sound proof place in your house, where they cannot escape and if possible stay with them for the length of the fireworks. Poppers and other noise making things also scare animals and can even damage their sensitive ears. Strings of confetti can get lodged in cat's intestines and even necessitate surgery.

- HOLIDAY PET OUTFITS, ANTLERS & SANTA HATS: PLEASE NONE OF THIS FOR YOUR ANIMAL!!!! Contrary to our "human" belief, animals do not like to dress up as a Santa or an Elf or a Reindeer. They feel uncomfortable, restricted and do not understand what terrible thing they must have done to their people to deserve such punishment.

I have this directly from the "cats and dogs mouth". And if you don't believe me look at any holiday picture or postcard with dressed-up pets on it. You see the look on their face and it is not happy and festive. More like "what the hell they are doing to me and why do I deserve it".

Same thing goes for JINGLE BELLS. And this is all year long. Animals, especially cats, hate jingle bells and you would too if you have something attached to your neck which makes an annoying sound every time you move. Remember their ears are so much more sensitive then ours. Humans hear in range between 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz, dogs up to 40 kilohertz and cats up to 60 kilohertz. So this should give you a idea how irritating the jingle on their collar can be. Again I have it straight from the animals. It makes them stress out, irritated and nervous and this ultimately affects their physical health.

Be kind to your animals and take off those jingles!!!


And on that note...



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