Pet Holiday Hazards!

Hi everyone! So in case you didn’t know already, 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 9 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.”  After 20 minutes of asking the client a million questions, and ones directed towards possible drug ingestion, the client guarantees there is no possible way the dog got into an illegal substance.  Within seconds of the owner telling us this, their pet vomits up a very suspicious small plastic baggie.  Let’s just say the dog did great after a day or 2 of hospitalization. Another time a pet’s mommy came in with her dog that had been vomiting for 2 days.  After radiographs and workup, we did emergency surgery to remove a pair of women’s underwear from his stomach.  I call the client after the surgery to assure her everything went well and tell her what we found.  Her first comment after calling was, “What do the underwear look like?”  Ummmmmmmmmmmm?  I think everyone sees the point, pets eat EVERYTHING and they definitely do not the discriminate.  During the holidays, there seems to be a smorgasbord of yummy delights for our pets.  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 emergency 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 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!

Happy Holidays!

xmas blogThis is me removing a fake Christmas tree berry from a cat’s intestine that was causing an obstruction! Please be very careful with the holiday decorations!

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