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  • Writer's pictureDr. Allie

Enjoy the Holidays with your Pets & Avoid the Dangers!

As we begin the festivities of the holiday season, let’s remember a

few common things that can be dangerous to our pets. Many of our dogs

and cats will enjoy being part of the merrymaking, but remember that

some pets can be overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the season.

New decorations, holiday guests, and parties galore can be fun for us,

but can be overwhelming for animals. Make sure to provide your pet

with a safe, quiet place that he or she can retreat to if needed.

Toxic Foods: As we enjoy our delicious holiday feasts, we may feel

compelled to share a snack with our furry friends, but remember that

many holiday foods can make our pets sick. Turkey and ham, especially

bones, can cause gastrointestinal upset or even blockage. Common

ingredients such as chives, leeks, onions, and garlic are toxic to

dogs and cats and can cause breakdown of their red blood cells. We are

all familiar with chocolate being poisonous to dogs, but other

ingredients in baked goods such as raisins, currants, and macadamia

nuts can be equally just as toxic. Xylitol, a sugar free sweetener, is

also poisonous and causes liver damage. If your pet ingests any of

these ingredients, please contact your veterinarian immediately BEFORE

symptoms set in, as treating sooner than later is in the best interest

of your pet.

Toxic Plants: During the holiday season, we often bring nature inside

and decorate our homes with trees, garlands and other plants, but

remember that many of these are toxic to pets. Ensure that these are

placed out of reach. Dogs and cats alike can be surprisingly

inquisitive and want to take a bite out of a plant. Holly, mistletoe,

and yew (an evergreen that is commonly used in fresh holiday decor)

are toxic to pets and if ingested, the pet should be seen by a

veterinarian immediately. Pets have been known to eat pine needles off

of the tree or even drink the water from the tree stand, and this can

also make them sick. To avoid a problem, make sure your pets don’t

have access to these decorative plants.

Decorations: Some dogs and cats are quite curious and want to

investigate and play with holiday decorations. If your dog or cat is

interested in the holiday tree, make sure that the tree is tethered or

secured to the wall so that it does not fall onto your pet causing

serious injury. Glass or fragile ornaments can also pose a risk. Some

pets will even chew on wires of holiday lights resulting in

electrocution. Dogs have also been known to open presents under the

tree, especially when tasty treats are wrapped inside. Ensure that

your pet is safe by limiting their access to decorations by using a

baby gate, keeping ornaments and decor out of their reach, and closely

monitoring them when around the decor. If you have any concerns over

whether your pet ingested something that could be toxic, reach out to

your veterinarian. Better to be safe than sorry when enjoying the

holiday season!

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