Winter Holiday Hazards

By December 8, 2016 Uncategorized

Holiday Foods:

Table scraps/Garbage – Leftover meat, table scrapes and garbage can lead to pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas) resulting in abdominal pain, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. This ailment can be life threatening if not addressed. Garbage and other table scraps may also contain bone and other hazards for choking or gastrointestinal obstruction.

Chocolate – This common treat during the holidays can cause serious symptoms in your pet if ingested. The toxicity of the chocolate varies depending on its “purity”, with toxicity increasing with the darker the chocolate. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, increased or abnormal heart rate and seizures.

Xylitol – Many sugarless gums and treats which may fill your stocking contain xylitol. This sweetener is toxic to dogs causing a drop in blood pressure and liver failure when consumed.

Grapes/Raisins – Consumption of grapes or raisins can lead to renal failure and even death in some animals. The mechanism of toxicity is not known and therefore any dose is potentially fatal. It is best to be safe when it comes to grapes and avoid them.

Alcohol – Ingestion of alcohol by pets can result in vomiting, disorientation, seizures, respiratory failure and drops in temperature and blood pressure. Alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the blood

Ornaments & Toys:

Tinsel – It may be fun to play with but this shiny Christmas decoration can cause great harm to your feline friend if ingested. If swallowed tinsel has the potential to cause intestinal obstruction or even intestinal rupture.

Foreign bodies – Ornaments and presents may seem like toys to our pets but ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea and even intestinal obstruction which if left untreated can lead to death.


Mistletoe & Holly – These plants along with their berries are very toxic to both cats and dogs. Symptoms of intoxication include vomiting, diarrhea, salivation and abdominal pain. Mistletoe contains an additional toxic compound which can result in a sudden drop in blood pressure, hallucinations and breathing issues. Seizures and death are also possible outcomes if a large amount is consumed.

Poinsettia – It is of popular belief that the poinsettia plant is deadly for our pets, but this is not actually the case. The leaves of the plant contain sap which can be irritating to tissues if ingested resulting in oral irritation, nausea and/or vomiting.

Amaryllis – The bulb of this beautiful winter plant is the most dangerous part of the plant. Common signs of intoxication are salivation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, decreased appetite and tremors.

Pesticides and Fertilizers – If plants have been sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers even harmless plants can become deadly to your pets. The size of your pet and the amount of toxin ingested determines the severity of poisoning.