Lifestyle

Lifestyle

The ideal way to spend the holidays is in the company of family and friends rather than dealing with a visit to the veterinary hospital. As Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve approach, the experts in toxicology at Pet Poison Helpline are warning pet lovers about the numerous hazards that pets may encounter during this holiday season.

“We receive more potential poisoning calls in November and December than any other time of the year,” said Dr.┬áRenee Schmid, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline, in a press release. “Some of the biggest threats during the holidays are toxins that are prevalent throughout the entire year, like lilies, chocolate, xylitol, and medication, but there are many toxic items that are specific to the holidays, such as eggnog.”

Holiday Pet Dangers

Pet Poison Helpline shared a distressing incident from last Christmas. One involves someone’s two cats, who fell seriously ill after nibbling on a lily from a holiday bouquet.

During the previous winter in Indianapolis, a puppy was poisoned by ingesting half a cup of ice melt. The main concern for the medical team was the sodium chloride. Apparently, this can cause severe gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system signs, according to the Pet Poison Helpline.

Chocolate is a holiday danger for pets.

Another significant holiday danger is chocolate, with the added threat of xylitol. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is another dangerous toxin that can be combined with chocolate. With the increasing legalization of marijuana in many states, the Pet Poison Helpline has observed a rise in cannabis-related calls. While THC’s toxicity level is considered mild for dogs and cats, it can still have significant effects, they said.

Medications are a major year-round toxic threat. They become even more hazardous during the holidays when visitors may bring unknown medications into your home. “Of all the calls we receive at Pet Poison Helpline, animals ingesting human medications is one of our most common,” noted Dr. Schmid.

Pet Poison Helpline recounted an incident a few days before last New Year’s Eve. It involved an Alaskan Malamute puppy who ingested a Percocet, a pain reliever containing a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone. A visiting relative dropped the pill on the floor, and although it was unfortunately found by the dog. Happily, she was treated promptly and made a full recovery. However, the outcome could have been much worse. If you have holiday guests, they suggest reminding them to keep their medications out of reach of family pets and children.

Holidays create more opportunities for pets to come in contact with various toxins. Pet lovers need to be extra vigilant. This is especially true when around new people or environments.

Take a look at foods to avoid feeding pets during the holidays below.

  • Turkey Skin

    Certain foods can be challenging for your pet’s digestive system. Turkey skin, chicken skin, and gravy are high in fat, potentially leading to vomiting or diarrhea after ingestion. The Family Veterinary Clinic emphasizes that a diet rich in fatty foods can inflame your pet’s pancreas, an important component of their digestive system.

    Whole grilled chicken with mushrooms and potatoes close-up in a baking dish. horizontal

    ALLEKO/ Getty Images

  • Bones

    During the cooking process, bones lose moisture and become brittle. While it might seem natural to give your dog a bone, it is crucial to avoid all cooked bones. Cooked bones can splinter, posing a risk of serious injury by getting lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive system. If your dog ingests cooked bones, the American Kennel Club recommends consulting your veterinarian for advice or scheduling an appointment to rule out any serious consequences.

    Bone with some meat isolated on while background

    ajt/ Getty Images

  • Chocolate

    Chocolate contains toxic components such as caffeine for dogs and cats. Despite being a well-known fact, it remains one of the most common causes of dog poisoning. Ingesting chocolate may lead to vomiting or diarrhea in dogs, and in severe cases, it can result in arrhythmias or seizures. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, dogs cannot metabolize theobromine and caffeine as efficiently as humans, making them more sensitive to these chemicals.

    Whole and broken chocolate, chocolate bars, candies, chocolate chips on a dark wooden background

    NATALIA MARNA/ Getty Images

    effects.

  • Onions

    All members of the onion family or closely related varieties (shallots, garlic, scallions, etc.) contain components that can harm red blood cells in cats and dogs. Even a small amount can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Purina warns that these vegetables contain a highly toxic compound called N-propyl disulfide for dogs, leading to the breakdown and eventual destruction of red blood cells, potentially causing anemia. In extreme cases, onion poisoning can be fatal for dogs.

    Fresh onion bulbs isolated on white background

    Buriy/ Getty Images

  • Alcoholic Beverages

    While it may seem like common sense not to give your dog alcohol, unattended drinks at gatherings pose a risk. Holiday drinks are often sweet, and curious pets may inadvertently consume alcohol. According to Amical Emergency Care, alcohol toxicity is a common pet poisoning that can result from ingestion, skin absorption, or inhalation of alcohol or alcohol-containing products. Pets with severe poisoning are at risk of death.

    friends clinking by glasses with various alcoholic cocktails at table,close up top view

    Ilnur Khisamutdinov/ Getty Images

  • Grapes

    Raisins and grapes are not commonly known to be poisonous to animals. However, they can cause kidney failure in dogs, as noted by the American Kennel Club. Initial signs of poisoning include vomiting and hyperactivity. Make sure all desserts, fruitcakes, and fruit baskets are kept out of your pet’s reach to prevent accidental ingestion.

    Bunch of grapes and raisins on a white background

    popovaphoto/ Getty Images

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