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Holiday Hazards for your Pet
Chocolate: Keep candy bars, snack mixes, chocolate desserts and baking goods out of reach. With low doses of chocolate, only mild GI upset is seen but at cardiotoxic doses, more severe signs such as tachycardia, tachypnea, hyperthermia, cardiac arrhythmias, tremors, and seizures can develop.
Grapes and Raisins: Grapes, raisins, and zante currants ingestion can result in acute renal injury in dogs. Vomiting is common in the first 24 hours, followed by diarrhea, anorexia, lethargy, and abdominal pain.
Plants: Holiday plants can make your home festive but several of them can cause harm. Exposures to Christmas cactus, evergreen trees, holly, mistletoe, poinsettias commonly result in GI upset, but are unlikely to cause serious toxicosis. Amaryllis and Christmas kalanchoe can cause more serious signs depending on the part of the plant exposed and the amount ingested.
Tinsel and Glass Ornaments: Thin and Sharp tinsel can easily wrap itself around intestines or ball up in the stomach, and glass ornaments can cause perforations and lacerations to pets that chew on them. Cats are especially drawn to sparkly things, so if you have a curious feline, skip putting shiny tinsel on Christmas trees and stick to nonbreakable ornaments.
Xylitol: This sugar substitute is found in some sugar-free candies, gum, peanut butter and recipes. When ingested, it may cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and in severe cases, liver failure.
Electrical Cords: When curious animals chew on electrical cords they can receive an electrical shock. Place them out of your pet’s reach, tape them down, or cover them in protective casing.
Medications: Make sure prescription medications are not placed where your pets can access them. Even over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol can be dangerous to pets. If you think your pet has ingested anything harmful, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control (888-426-4435) right away.