Hidden Holiday Hazards

Holiday pic 1Hidden Holiday Hazards

Dee Ritenour, LVT

With all of the holiday hustle and bustle the last thing that you think about is a potential poisoning of your family pet. Here is a list of things that you should avoid letting your furry family member from getting into


We all enjoy when we have family and friends over for the holidays, but we need to be careful when it comes to the foods that we are severing to our guests. The foods that we all love and enjoy can be toxic if not deadly to our beloved pets. So ask your family or friends to be careful not to sneak any to them.

  1. Chocolate- Who doesn’t love chocolate, but it contains contain theobromine which in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea. If large quantities are ingested it can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias and even death.
  2. Grapes and Raisins- They can cause kidney failure in dogs. The amount ingested to cause kidney failure varies between dogs. The dog’s size and any preexisting conditions play a role.holiday pic4
  3. Xylitol- It is a sweetener that is found in many sugarless gums, candies and now peanut butter. It causes low blood sugar (which can be life threatening) and liver failure.
  4. Macadamia Nuts- Found in holiday candies and cookies, it can cause muscle tremors, weakness and paralysis. These symptoms are usually temporary.
  5. Onions and Garlic- Small quantities over a period of time or a large one time amount can cause the destruction of red blood cells, weakness, anemia and difficulty breathing.
  6. Yeast/Bread- Ingestion of unbaked bread or yeast can cause excess gas which causes pain and could possibly rupture the stomach or intestines.
  7. Caffeine- We all enjoy a good cup of coffee but it can have adverse side effects to our pets. Because it is a central nervous system and cardiac stimulant it can cause heart palpitations, restlessness, vomiting and even death.
  8. Bones- Turkey, chicken and other bones can splinter and cause shards of the bone to become stuck, causing pain, vomiting and diarrhea. If a large enough piece is eaten it can cause an obstruction which requires surgical removal.


We all enjoy decorating for the holidays, but many of our beautiful decorations can be dangerous to our pets.

  1. Tinsel- It might look pretty on the tree but it can be very dangerous to our cats. It’s very shiny and looks like something cool to play with. If eaten it can cause a foreign body in the intestines which requires surgery to remove it.
  2. Ribbon- We like getting presents wrapped with lots of colorful ribbon, but this too looks like a toy to cats. So if pic 3you are going to use it make sure that the packages and the extra ribbon is somewhere they cannot get into them. If eaten it too can cause a foreign body.
  3. Snow Globes- Imported globes have been found to have antifreeze (ethylene glycol) in them. If the globes break your pet could ingest the liquid. It only takes a small amount to cause acute kidney failure. The early signs of ingestion are increased thirst, acting drunk or uncoordinated. Immediate treatment is vital.
  4. Bubble lights- These light contain a chemical called Methylene chloride which can be dangerous if ingested. It can cause depression, aspiration pneumonia and irritation to the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract.
  5. Plants- Poinsettia can cause only mild symptoms if ingested. Symptoms are nausea, drooling, vomiting and sometimes diarrhea. Symptoms are usually self-limiting and don’t require treatment unless they continue for a period of time.
  6. Flowers- The more concerning of the plant decorations are Lilly flowers. These can cause kidney failure in cats. The most toxic of the Lilly flowers are the Tiger, Asiatic, Stargazer, Easter and Day lilies. It only takes a small amount of the leaves, pollen or the petals to cause acute kidney failure.

If you find yourself not sure if your pet has ingested anything toxic or hazardous please call your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

                                          HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


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