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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
SYS-CON.TV Urges Pet Owners to Protect Their Pets From the Hidden Hazards of Winter

-- Celebrity Veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney Unveils the Top Five Dangers To Avoid During The Holiday Season and Beyond --

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rock salt, antifreeze and mistletoe - oh my!  The holiday season brings many pleasures to our four-legged friends: family gatherings, big meals, special trips, and in many areas some chilly white fluffy stuff to frolic in.  However, many pet owners don't realize that when the temperatures drop, the unexpected risks for pets rise., North America's largest non-profit pet adoption website, has teamed with celebrity veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney, pet expert for's pet website, to uncover the Top Five Winter Hazards that can be life-threatening for pets.  They include:

  1. Rock Salt:  If you live in a cold climate where winter brings snow and ice, then you're familiar with our first hazard.  Rock salt, also called road salt, is sodium chloride mixed with other chemical additives and is used to keep sidewalks and roadways from being too slippery from ice.  While the mixture works well, it is very tough on our pets' paws and can be extremely dangerous if ingested.  Other de-icing agents should also be avoided in areas where pets congregate.
  2. Antifreeze:  Pets may be drawn to this popular engine coolant because it has a sweet taste, but this exceedingly toxic substance that contains ethylene glycol can be found anywhere vehicles drive or park, including streets, roadways, parking lots, or even your own driveway.  If ingested, this fluorescent green fluid can cause kidney failure or even death in pets, and since it's used to control the freezing and boiling point of liquids, antifreeze is not exclusively a winter hazard, but also quite dangerous during the warmer months as well. 
  3. Heating Sources:  Pets may enjoy cozying up near the fireplace to bask in the warmth, but this activity is dangerous because of the exposure to flames and increased temperatures that can potentially burn their skin.  In addition, pet parents need to be extra cautious when exposing their furry friends to electric blankets and space heaters because these electrical items can become toxic or harmful.
  4. Winter Plants:  Although they look pretty, many holiday plants can be poisonous to pets.  Mistletoe, Poinsettias, Holly and Christmas Cactus are all extremely toxic and can cause severe gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and neurologic effects if ingested.  Christmas trees are also hazardous because not only are the pine needles poisonous, but also because of the bacteria and fertilizer harbored in the water stands (which pets are known to drink).  Additionally, decorations such as tinsel can also be very noxious if consumed.
  5. Festive Foods:  Meats and sweets are treats that pets beg for, but are serious no no's when it comes to your pet's health.  Turkey and other holiday meats are very high in protein, but if meats in their natural form are not a regular part of their diet, they can be hard to digest, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or inflammation of the pancreas.  Chocolate may be the best-known food danger for pets because it contains caffeine.  Dogs in particular do not metabolize these stimulants in their liver, and elevations in heart rate, blood pressure, or even seizures, coma, or death can occur.  Of course, all candy is high in sugar, which can cause digestive issues for all pets.

"During the holiday season, we want to ensure that everyone enjoys a fun and safe celebration, which includes taking a few extra precautions for your beloved pets," remarked Dr. Patrick Mahaney.  "Just avoiding the hazardous elements that pose even a remote threat to your pets could make a huge difference in their health and wellness."

Dr. Mahaney is available for interviews to discuss how to protect your pets against potentially fatal winter hazards, and to provide vital tips on what to do should your pet unexpectedly fall victim this season.  For additional information on winter hazards, visit

Another seasonal pet-related topic for interview opportunity is how to choose the perfect pet as a holiday gift. experts are available to discuss what people must consider before surprising loved ones with a new four-legged family member. is North America's largest non-profit pet adoption website.  We help over 12,000 animal shelters, humane societies, SPCAs, pet rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies advertise their purebred and mixed breed pets for free to millions of adopters each month.  Sponsored by the pet lovers at Purina and Bayer AnimalHealth LLC, we help homeless dogs, cats, and even rabbits and other animals go from alone to adopted.  But we don't stop there. also provides valuable information on the human/companion animal relationship to help keep pets healthy and successfully living in their loving homes.  Visit our facebook page and blog for supportive content and articles, and our YouTube channel for entertaining and informative pet training videos, all produced by our staff of experts in animal training and behavior, as well as human psychology.


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