‘Tis the season!  For potential pooch and kitty toxins and dangers, that is.  WRAH is here with some stay-safe pointers to keep your fur-babies happy and healthy this winter.

Plants – No doubt you’ll be seeing store displays full of Poinsettias, Holly, and other festive flora.  It’s ok to use these beautiful plants around your home, but keep them well out of reach of your pets.  Unless, of course, your idea of holiday fun includes cleaning up copious amounts of vomit and diarrhea.  Mistletoe does have the added issue of being able to cause cardiovascular problems in addition to GI upset, but a dog or cat would have to ingest a large quantity of it to get those side effects.  If you are a cat owner, one item you should absolutely avoid having in your home at all is the Lily.  Lilies are commonly used in flower arrangements, but even a teeny tiny amount ingested can cause kidney failure and death.

Foods – Many people already know chocolate is dangerous for pets.  Milk chocolate is toxic in moderate amounts, but even a very small amount of semi-sweet or dark chocolate is life-threatening.  Keep those chocolate-covered coffee beans and raisins high up in the cupboard as grapes/raisins and caffeine-loaded coffee beans are seriously toxic on their own, even without that delicious chocolate coating!  A lot of baking will likely be going on in the next month or so.  Counter surfers (I’m thinking Beagle types here) would love to get a hold of that dough you wandered away from for a moment.  Doughs containing yeast are particularly dangerous as they can result in alcohol poisoning when eaten raw.


Decorations – While tinsel and ribbon look great festooning the tree and gifts, I can tell you from experience that they are much less festively fun when being surgically removed from a dog or cat’s intestinal tract.  When string-type items are swallowed, they cause the intestines to bunch up around them, cutting through the tissue and cutting off blood supply.  Electrical cords for lights pose a big risk, too.  Electrical shock from a pet chewing into the cord can cause edema fluid to build up in the lungs and can result in death.  Glass ornaments and the hooks they hang on can cut the lining of the GI tract and even puncture all the way through the bowel wall.  Before you think “No animal would eat a glass ornament” keep in mind that puppies and Labs will eat just about anything!  We know, we’ve seen it.  Also be wary of salt dough ornaments.  They may be a lot of fun to make with the family, but when ingested by your pet they cause salt toxicity which can have severe cardiovascular and neurologic effects.

We hope you enjoy your holidays!  And, as always, call us here at WRAH if you have any questions or concerns about your 4-legged family members.