Holiday Pet Dangers

Plants toxic to pets

As you prepare for Thanksgiving (as well as Hanukah and the rest of the holiday season), don’t forget your pets. Holidays can be a very dangerous time for pets. Take a moment to consider the dangers around the house and make sure your pets do not have access to potential harm.

While candles look lovely on the table or in the windows, make sure your pets cannot reach them. Aside from the house fire danger of a knocked over candle, pets can seriously burn themselves either on the flame or the hot wax. Many households begin Christmas decorating during or soon after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Electrical holiday lights produce a different type of hazard to pets. Chewing on an electric cord can cause electric shock if plugged in and lacerations to the tongue if not.

Guests may leave items lying within reach of your pets. Designate an area out of your pets’ reach for coats, bags, purses and other items that might hold tempting hazards such as food or medication. Ask your guests not to deviate from your pets normal diet by refraining from feeding your pet food scraps. Aside from throwing your pets digestion off with the unused to cuisine, the “treats” may contain items that are toxic to your pet.


  • Desserts and candy: Chocolate contains substances from the methylxanthines class (Two of these compounds, caffiene and theobromine, are found in varying amounts in chocolate.). The darker the chocolate, the higher the risk of toxicity. Chocolate toxicity may depend on the size of the dog as well as the type and amount of chocolate. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, uncontrolled urination, heart arrhythmias, shaking and seizures. If you suspect your dog has consumed even a small amount of chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately for an emergency appointment.
  • Turkey bones: Cooked bones, especially poultry bones, can splinterPuppies chew on everything! and lacerate your dog’s digestion system. Bones can also become lodged in the throat and pieces of bone can pack in the intestine causing an obstruction. These dangers are not just to Turkey bones but to all bones.
  • Fat trimmings from meat: Fatty foods, including meat trimmings, cooked and uncooked, can lead to pancreatitis making the dog very ill.


  • Holiday decorations: Cats, attracted by shiny objects and crinkly noise, may be tempted to play with items such as tinsel and ornaments. While not toxic, these can cause serious injury to the digestive system, even leading to death. If ingested, immediate veterinary care is needed.Inducing vomiting
    Veterinarian gives a cat activated charcoal to induce vomiting following ingestion of a toxic substance.

    Holiday plants: Many traditional holiday plants are poisonous, even deadly, to cats. Pine needles, Holly, Poinsettias, and Mistletoe can all lead to severe illness. Even a small amount of Poinsettias can lead to kidney failure. If you suspect your cat has ingested any of these plants, contact your veterinarian immediately for an emergency visit.

To read more information on how to keep your pet safe during holidays, go to


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