December brings holidays and parties and lots of treats for both pets and their owners; unfortunately, it also brings some hazards.
While we hope everyone enjoys this holiday season, please take some extra caution with the following treats!
- Poinsettias- these pretty red flowers often grace tables and homes during the month of December, but they aren’t as great for our furry friends. Luckily poinsettia toxicity is generally mild and causes gastric distress, with symptoms including drooling, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Tinsel- luckily for veterinarians, this tree trimming is becoming less common. If you still like to decorate your tree with strands of tinsel take caution if you share your home with cats. Felines think this decoration is great to play with and occasionally eat. Unfortunately, it can get stuck in their intestines and require surgical intervention to remove.
- Chocolate- this is a common one that causes problems year-round, but we see an increase during the holidays. Our canine pals don’t love this dark treat as much as their humans do and small amounts can upset their stomachs, and large quantities can cause seizures. Chocolate is a toxin where the dose is very important, and our smaller canine pals are going to have more problems than large breeds, and the darker the chocolate, the worse it is.
- Christmas turkey- another delicious holiday treat that us humans love that can cause problems for our furry friends. While turkey, gravy and other parts of our holiday dinners are not toxic to our pets, the increase in fat that is in these treats can cause some serious problems for our pets. While our bodies have evolved to handle a large variety of foods, our pets have approximately 10% of the bacteria in their stomachs that we do and therefore are more prone to vomiting or diarrhea following a change in diet. In serious cases, the rich meat and fat from the gravy or drippings can also cause the more serious pancreatitis.
- Alcohol and marijuana- for the adults in the household holiday partying can sometimes include having a drink or toke or 2. If you are partying, we have 2 recommendations to keep your pets safe, first keep yourself safe and make sure that you don’t drink and drive, you have furry friends waiting for you at home. Second, while these substances can enhance the partying for us, they can make our pets sick, causing GI upset and bloat. Pets are also very sensitive to the effects of marijuana and can become very sedate with severely low heart rates. Enjoy all the holiday parties, make sure your pets don’t participate!
Written by: Dr. Stephanie Hayward, Veterinarian