Holiday Hazards 2015

The sweet aroma of pumpkin pie and the mouth-watering scent of a succulent turkey roasting in the oven.  YUMMY!!  As enjoyable as Thanksgiving and Christmas are for people everywhere, the Holidays offer many dangers for our household pets.  As a responsible pet owner, there are things to watch out for!!

Here is a list of the top 5 holiday hazards that we see here in the hospital which can cause obstructions or toxicity:

1.     Tinsel and Ornaments

2.     Christmas Lighting and Candles

3.     Gift Wrap Ribbon

4.     Toxic Holiday Plants(pine needles, holly, mistletoe, poinsettias)

5.     Food Hazards:

  •      Turkey Fat
  •      Poultry Skin
  •      Onions
  •     Bones From Fish, Meat, or Poultry
  •      Raw Fish, Meat, and Poultry
  •      Garlic
  •      Raisins / Grapes
  •      Macadamia Nuts
  •      Uncooked Yeast Dough
  •      Alcohol
  •      Coffee / Tea
  •      Fat Trimmings
  •      Rich Foods like Grease and Gravy
  •      Sweets, Especially Chocolate

In specific regards to chocolate toxicity: 

What would the holidays be without boxes of chocolate and warm cocoa in front of the fire? However, chocolate can be toxic or even fatal to dogs and cats. Chocolate may be mistakenly given to pets as treats and may be irresistible to the curious canine. Chocolate poisoning occurs most frequently in dogs but other species are also susceptible. Theobromine is the toxic compound found in chocolate. Signs which may appear within 1 to 4 hours of eating chocolate include:

  •   Vomiting 
  •   Increased thirst 
  •   Diarrhea
  •   Weakness
  •   Difficulty keeping balance
  •   Hyperexcitability
  •   Muscle spasms, seizures, coma
  •   Death from abnormal heart rhythm

The toxicity of chocolate depends on the amount and type of chocolate ingested:

Source                                                          Potential Toxic Dose (44lb dog)

  • Unsweetened Cocoa                                     3 oz
  • Baking Chocolate                                          5 oz 
  • Semisweet Chocolate                                    7 oz
  • Milk Chocolate                                               20 oz

The amount of theobromine in white chocolate or chocolate flavored dog treats is usually negligible. As with any poisoning, call us or an emergency veterinary hospital immediately if you suspect your pet may have ingested chocolate. Have the product label information available when you call the hospital. There are national and regional poison control hotlines for animals. In general, the treatment of poisonings is most effective if begun soon after eating the poison, before large amounts are absorbed into the blood. 

We know that festive events mean delicious treats!!  Remember that cooked turkey or chicken and other bird bones are dangerous to your pet.  These bones are generally hollow and break or splinter easily.  When swallowed, the sharp pieces of bone can choke the dog or block and tear the intestines.  Fat trimmings are also dangerous and may cause pancreatitis.  Any NEW food diet introduced should be done in a controlled manner, NOT under the table.  

Here's to hoping you and your pets enjoy a safe, cheerful, and hazard free holiday season!