I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS! I love the entertaining, decorations, songs, parties, family and friends that make the holidays so fun and warm. It also tends to be a crazy time at the animal hospital with a lot of emergencies. In fact, the daily emergencies at the hospital nearly double during the holidays.
I have been a veterinarian for 8 years, so as you can imagine, I have seen A LOT if not EVERYTHING! A few of my all-time favorites are the dog that comes in not acting himself, walking a bit funny, and seems to be very “tired”. Finally after 20 minutes of asking the parents a million questions, their son pulls me aside and explains what “really happened”. Let’s just say the dog ate some fun filled brownies. Another time a pet’s mommy comes running into the hospital the morning after Passover and tells me she found her dog lying on the dining room table next to the Manischewitz wine. I guess Elijah was not the one that got to the wine first. I could go on and on. Needless to say, both these pups did great after a day of hospitalization, sleeping it off, and some food. As funny as some of these emergencies can be, I do like to send out emails and Facebook posts about the “typical” holiday emergencies to help prepare my clients so they can avoid trips to see me.
Foods Pets Should Avoid
Rich and fatty foods can cause problems ranging from stomach upset to more serious illnesses such as pancreatitis, resulting in pain, vomiting, and dehydration.
Alcohol can cause intoxication in our pets, and many dogs are attracted to the sweet taste and smell.
Chocolate, coffee, and tea all contain dangerous components called xanthines, which cause nervous system or urinary system damage and heart muscle stimulation. Problems from ingestion range from diarrhea to seizures and death. Unsweetened baking chocolate and dark chocolate are the most toxic to our pets.
Uncooked meat, fish, and poultry can contain disease-causing bacteria, such as E. coli, and parasites like Toxoplasma Gondii.
Bones from fish, meat, or poultry, even small bones, can splinter and cause tearing throughout the intestinal tract requiring surgery.
Tobacco products can be fatal to pets if ingested. Signs of poisoning develop within 15 to 45 minutes and include over-excitement, salivation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Pets may develop seizures, collapse and even die from cardiac arrest. Keep all tobacco out of the reach of pets, and make sure to empty all ashtrays regularly.
Uncooked yeast dough can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.
Grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and xylitol (an artificial sweetener) are toxic for pets.
Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies are poisonous for pets.
Ribbons, yarn, and string can cause intestinal blockage resulting in the need for surgery and possibly death.
Adhesives, glues, and oil based potpourri can be toxic.
Candles can cause burns and fires.
Tree needles can be toxic and cause mouth and stomach irritation.
Tinsel, when ingested, can block the intestines.
Angel hair, flocking, and artificial snow are mildly toxic to pets.
Electrical cords can cause problems ranging from burned mouths from electrical shock or death by electrocution. Larger lights can become hot and can also cause burns.
Ornaments can result in life-threatening emergencies when ingested. Shards from broken glass can cause serious injuries to paws, mouths and other parts of the body.
Candy canes, gingerbread people, popcorn, raisins, or cranberry garlands can be enticing to your pet which, when ingested, can cause upset stomach or a more serious intestinal obstruction.
Holiday tree water may contain toxic fertilizers and can harbor bacteria.
I hope this will help you to prepare for and avoid potential dangers during the holidays. And remember, with all of the festivities, do not forget to relax and spend some quality time with your pet. Your dog or cat will think that is the best gift of all. We would love to hear your “funny” pet stories in our comments section!
This is me removing a fake berry from a Christmas tree from a cat’s intestines that was causing an obstruction! Please be very careful with the holiday decorations.