Lake Wales Veterinary Hospital

Holiday Pet Safety Reminders from the Lake Wales Team

It’s easy to get into the holiday spirit when your home is decked out in twinkling lights, holly wreaths, and pine boughs, and your table is laden with all the best home-cooked foods. However, before you get too caught up in the excitement of the season, remember that certain aspects of the holidays can actually be harmful to your pet.

If your pet is having a health emergency or you have any questions about the information below, give us a call at (863) 676-1451.

A young boy of elementary age is playing with his chihuahua pug puppy at Christmas. He has just gotten this dog as a Christmas gift, as his family adopted the animal for him. They sit in their living room in front of their white Christmas tree, with presents and lights in the background. The dog licks his face and he laughs.

Foods that can Make Your Pet Sick

Dogs and cats are not able to metabolize certain foods and chemicals the way that we can. They also shouldn’t eat anything that might get stuck in their throat, because they simply don’t know any better. This makes the following foods hazardous to their health:

  • Meat bones: Turkey bones, chicken bones...any type of meat bone may be dangerous, causing choking, internal injury, or even bowel obstruction. Chewing on bones can also result in chipped or broken teeth. Keep these away from your pet!
  • Onions, garlic, shallots, chives, and leeks: Raw or cooked, these veggies can cause anemia in your pet if they’re eaten in large enough quantities.
  • Grapes/raisins and currants: Ingesting these fruits can result in acute kidney failure. If consumed in large quantities, they can even cause death.
  • Virtually any type of chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine. This chemical is similar to caffeine, causing symptoms such as a rapid heart rate and muscle tremors.
  • Macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pecans: Eating large quantities of nuts can induce vomiting or diarrhea in your pet. It can also cause fever, depression, and muscle tremors.
  • Xylitol: A variety of sweets, including candy, gum, and baked treats, contain a sugar substitute called xylitol. Even in small amounts, xylitol can be extremely dangerous. Symptoms include low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, or even death. Be very careful about leaving candies, baked goods, or any other sweets sitting around.
Grey brown tabby kitten in Christmas tree playing with silver ornament

Toxic Plants and Hazardous Decorations

When you’re decorating your home, take care with these items:

  • Christmas tree: The needles and pine sap of live trees are very toxic to cats, and slightly less so for dogs. Also, the tree water may be full of these needles, sap, and any tree preservatives you may be using, creating a highly toxic cocktail. Keep your pet away from the tree as much as possible! If you can, place it in a corner or a room that can be closed off when you’re away.
  • Holly, mistletoe, Christmas cactus, amaryllis, and Jerusalem cherry: All of these plants have toxic parts that can make your pet very sick. Keep them well out of your pet’s reach, or avoid bringing them into your home.
  • Strands of lights: Your pet can burn their mouth by chewing on electrical cords. They can also accidentally swallow loose bulbs! Keep strands of lights snug around the tree and don’t leave the hanging where your pet can reach.
  • Tinsel, ribbon, and string: Ingesting any of these can lead to choking. We recommend avoiding tinsel completely, as it’s lightweight and can end up on the floor very quickly.
  • Candles/fireplaces: Fire and curious (or clumsy) pets don’t mix. Opt for flameless candles and keep your fireplace blocked off.
  • Glass ornaments: You can either tie this securely to the upper branches of your tree to prevent them from slipping off, or not use them at all. Glass ornaments are extremely fragile and broken fragments can hurt your pet (and you)!
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