Tips for a Safer, Happier Holiday with Your Pet

The sights, the sounds, the smells—what’s not to love about the holidays? Your pet loves them too, and we know you want them to enjoy the season just as much as you do. Because our pets are so naturally inquisitive, they can get into a lot of things they shouldn’t—whether it’s food, toxic plants, ornaments, tinsel or anything else that is tantalizingly within their reach. That’s why we’ve provided you with a guide you can follow for when the holidays arrive and you want to make sure you’ve covered all of your bases. Read on!

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Potential Health Hazards

Having a pet is similar in some ways to having a small child in the house, because you need to take extra precautions to keep them out of danger. Below are some of the more common examples of pet holiday safety hazards, and why they need to be avoided.

Foods and Beverages

  • Chocolate – if consumed in large enough quantities, can cause muscle tremors or even cardiac arrest
  • Grapes, raisins and currants – can cause renal failure
  • Garlic, onions, chives and leeks
  • Corn cobs
  • Bones from turkey and/or chicken – can cause choking, bowel obstruction, internal injury
  • Pistachios, walnuts, Macadamia nuts and pecans
  • Xylitol – found in sugar-free gum and candy, and certain baked goods
  • Caffeine and alcohol
  • Grease, butter, and yeast in unbaked dough
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dog-ribbon

Decorations

  • Candles (open flame)
  • Ribbon, string and tinsel
  • Ornaments (especially glass ones)
  • Strands of lights and loose bulbs
  • Any other items that can be easily swallowed

Toxic Plants

  • English holly – can cause diarrhea & vomiting
  • Poinsettias – Stomachache, vomiting or diarrhea in dogs, & excessive drooling in cats
  • Mistletoe – can be fatal if ingested, otherwise causes vomiting & depression
  • Jerusalem cherry – nausea, vomiting, seizures
  • Christmas cactus – vomiting & diarrhea
  • Amaryllis – very toxic for cats, bulb is most toxic portion of plant & can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and abdominal pain. Severe symptoms may include convulsions and kidney failure
  • Christmas tree/pine – pine needles can cause internal injury, & the tree water will likely contain not only toxic tree sap, but preservatives & bacteria that could exacerbate illness
cat-smelling-poinsettia

Call our hospital right away at (847) 680-6543 if you suspect your pet has consumed a toxic plant or food substance, or has swallowed a dangerous object.

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