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Cold Complications

      As the calendar turns to January, we find ourselves in the clutch of Winter’s grip. The cold weather we have experienced can be hazardous to your pet’s health. The frigid weather along with the snow and ice can cause frostbitten paws, and ears on both dogs and cats. Place socks or boots on their paws, and clean the snow from between their toes to prevent this. Dogs that stay outside should have adequate shelter from the wind. The dry winter air requires that pets have just as much fresh water available now as during the summer.  Pets can develop dry skin irritations because of the dry winter air and the dry heat used to warm up the house.

     If you travel south to warm up and intend to have your pet accompany you, be sure that it is up to date on its vaccinations. That includes Rabies and Distemper for both cats and dogs, and Kennel Cough and Canine Influenza for dogs.  You may go places that require they be up to date on these vaccines and if you end up boarding them at some point they most certainly will need these vaccinations. Canine Influenza is a virus that is seen predominately in the south but can occur in heavily populated areas in the north. Puppies and older dogs with a compromised immune system are dogs that are most at risk for adverse problems with this illness. We can get your dog vaccinated for this if it needs the protection.


  • Poinsettia- The flowers (red leaves) are bitter tasting and as a result dogs and cats may bite them but rarely eat them. If a pet were to eat the flowers they would likely vomit them, which would get rid of the problem. They may develop indigestion from this but are unlikely to have any severe systemic side effects.
  • Cyclamen- The root of this plant can cause vomiting episodes, but the rest of the plant is safe for animals.
  • Christmas Cactus- This does not produce any harm to your pet if eaten.


  • Lilly- All parts of Lilly plants are poisonous to animals. This plant can cause kidney damage if eaten.  
  • Holly- Holly berries can cause severe vomiting episodes.
  • Mistletoe- Mistletoe fruit can produce a severe allergic response when eaten. This reaction can cause cell death in many different organs and may be lethal.
  • Azalea- The flowers of this plant will produce severe vomiting episodes as well as unpredictable behavior. Azaleas have a hallucinogenic type effect on small pets.
  • Kalanchoe- The leaves of this plant may produce an abnormal heart rhythm.

  Should your pet eat any of these poisonous plants you can induce vomiting by squirting at least two tablespoons of Hydrogen Peroxide into the back of the animal’s throat. This causes a gas build- up in the stomach and produces vomiting. You can also give a child’s portion of Syrup of Ipecac.

  Some decorations inside however, can be dangerous to your pet.   Tinsel is notoriously known to pose a hazard to cats especially. Food that is tasty for us can cause vomiting and diarrhea to indiscriminate eaters, both dogs and cats. Indigestion problems are frequently encountered at this time and with quick attention are usually dealt with successfully.

    Christmas Cactus                       Kalanchoe                     Cyclamen                      Mistletoe                      



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