AIMSS’s Holiday Pet Safety Guide – December 2013

The holidays are fun for everyone, but can be risky for your pet. Every year we see an increase in certain kinds of emergency cases during this time of year. Be on the lookout for these hazards and keep your pet out of the emergency room this busy holiday season!

Below is a list of some of  the most common holiday toxins.

1. Chocolate toxicity: Chocolate contains chemicals called methylxanthines that can cause serious changes in heart function and can cause seizures too when consumed by dogs. The amount of this chemical varies by type of chocolate. In general the higher the cocoa content, the higher the methyxanthine content. That means baking chocolate and dark chocolate is much more dangerous than milk chocolate.   Brownies, frosting, chocolate chips and hot chocolate mixes can also cause problems so if your dog has ingested anything with chocolate, give us a call 24/7.

2. Electrical wires: Playful dogs and cats love Christmas lights too! Biting through wires can lead to mouth burns and electrocution.  Keep wires away from pets, especially puppies and kittens- they are super curious!

3. Christmas Tree Ornaments: Did you ever notice that all those dangling ornaments look like toys? Your cat or dog probably has. If these tempting toys are swallowed by a pet, they can get stuck in the stomach or intestines and leading to emergency surgery.

4. Ribbon and tinsel:  Kitties especially love curling ribbon. Swallowed pieces can get stuck in the intestines and mean a major abdominal surgery to remove them.

5. People food: There are a lot of yummy treats around the house during the holidays. It’s natural to want to give your pet a special holiday meal, but watch what you give them! Too much rich fatty food can lead to stomach upset and even pancreatitis.  Bones, especially poultry and pork bones, are sharp when chewed causing serious injury on the way down and can also get stuck in the digestive system.  Dogs should never be given raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions or any foods containing xylitol (like sugarless gum). Even small amounts of these substances can be fatal.

6. Holiday plants: Keep pets away from mistletoe, pointsettas and any type of lilly.  Chewing on toxic plants can cause mouth sores in mild cases and life ending kidney failure in more serious cases.  Cats are especially sensitive to lillies and even a small amount of exposure to these plants or their pollen can have fatal consequences.

Of course, if your pet does get into something the staff of AIMSS and Animal Emergency Services are always here to help so please give us a call at (415) 566-0540 24 hours per day if you are concerned.  We are open and staffed with experienced veterinarians around the clock including all holidays for your veterinary specialty and emergency needs.

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday from all of us at AIMSS and Animal Emergency Services!

posted in:  Uncategorized