Holiday Pet Hazards

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season bring many joys for our families but also some threats to our pets.


Just as we love chocolate, so does your dog. But chocolate can poison your dog. In general, your dog should avoid chocolate all together. The toxic level of milk chocolate is about 1 oz for every pound of body weight. If your pet should ingest baker’s chocolate (used for cooking,) ? oz per pound of body weight is toxic. Signs of poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea, and neurological signs like disorientation and excitability. The stomach empties in about 2-3 hours after ingestion. If your pet has ingested the chocolate in this time frame you may induce vomiting. Call your veterinarian for instructions.

Mistletoe, Poinsettias, Holly, and other Holiday Plants

The charming plants that brighten our holidays can prove dangerous to our pets. Mistletoe can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, muscle tremors, seizure, and shock. Depending on how much is eaten, Mistletoe can cause death. The milky sap of Poinsettias can irritate the mouth and throat. (Poinsettia varieties have now been bred so they’re not be poisonous to animals. Be sure to but those varieties.) Holly berries can cause severe gastrointenstinal disturbances and depression of the nervous system. Always seek veterinary care in the case of poisoning.

Tinsel and “Stringy” Foreign Bodies

Cats love strings and tinsel. Not only for play but as a delicious snack. These items can obstruct a cat and act as “saws” cutting the pet’s digestive track. Sometimes owners notice these items protruding from the cat’s rectum. Never pull on such objects in an attempt to remove them. Cut the string or tinsel off as close to the rectum as possible. Contact your veterinarian for instructions.

Evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays, call Animal Emergency at 727-786-5755.