We have a few tips for you to keep your dog and cat healthy during this holiday season:

 Plants and Holiday Decorations

Decorative plants are a source of danger.   Mistletoe and holly can cause vomiting and lilies are often deadly to cats.   Poinsettias, despite their reputation, are not deadly and often cause little more than mild stomach upset.

Ribbons and tinsel are especially attractive and hazardous to cats.  Keep an eye on electrical cords and tree lights to insure puppies and kittens don’t chew on them.

During family gatherings, it might be best to keep pets confined if they are overly anxious.   Also, please monitor people going in and out of the front door.  Pets might take advantage and try to escape.

Tree food or preservatives that are added to the water of a live tree can cause stomach upset of ingested.  Please contact us immediately if your pet drinks water with one of these additives.

Liquid potpourri is toxic, especially to cats.  It is more common for cats to get into liquid potpourri because it is usually located on countertops, to which cats have greater access.

Table Food                                                                    

Resist feeding your pet any table food from the holiday “feasts”.   A small amount of white turkey is an acceptable treat but definitely avoid the turkey skin and the turkey bones!  Table food can cause vomiting or diarrhea, gastroenteritis with inflammation of the stomach and intestines, and sometimes may cause pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is a potentially life threatening inflammation of the pancreas usually induced by a high fat meal (i.e. stuffing!).  There is just way too much at risk for that momentary pleasure of slipping the pets some goodies under the table.

Bones

Please do not give your pet bones.  Bones have the potential to both break off and cause a perforation of the digestive tract, or, if large amounts are consumed, could cause an obstruction.

Trash Cans

Please keep your trash can secure.  Many items used in the meal preparation and then thrown away can be dangerous.   A turkey string, foil wrappers, etc. may smell like food and be eaten by a curious pet.

Candy

Candies, gums, mints, baked goods and chocolate containing the “sugar free” sweetener xylitol are especially poisonous, causing rapid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure in dogs and possibly other species (ferrets).

Chocolate is toxic to pets. Granted, a 50 pound dog would have to eat about 50 ounces of milk chocolate (but only 5 ounces of baking chocolate) for a toxic dose, but much smaller amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Signs of chocolate toxicity include tremors, nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures and death. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, consult your veterinarian.

Other candies, such as lollipops and those with plastic components, pose a danger if ingested. Lollipop sticks and plastic parts can cause intestinal obstruction and potentially rupture the intestines, which is a life-threatening emergency.

Other Foods

There are other foods your pet should avoid:  raising and grapes, excessively salty foods, foods flavored with onion or garlic powder, desserts and sweets.

Bread Dough

Bread dough is a potential toxin that has been recently recognized. The toxicity dependents on the amount of dough ingested, but never offer your dogs or cats any uncooked bread dough. The yeast can form high levels of ethanol which can be potentially fatal if your pet consumes enough dough. Signs of bread dough intoxication include distended abdomen, disorientation, stupor, and vomiting. In extreme cases it can cause coma or seizures. Your pet will need to be monitored by a veterinarian for support if any signs of disorientation are observed at home.