Keep your pets safe this holiday season

December 21, 2012
Pets can get sick from eating the holiday decorations and treats.

(Phys.org)—Veterinarians at the University of California, Davis, offer some helpful tips to keep your pets safe this holiday season.

While the holidays are filled with traditional foods and decorations, those same items can cause harm to your pets if ingested. Every year at the UC Davis William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, veterinarians treat pets that get sick from eating the and treats.

"We love to decorate our homes for the holidays," said Karl Jandrey, an assistant professor of clinical small animal emergency and intensive care at UC Davis. "But, we need to keep in mind that some of our decorations and treats can be hazardous to our pets.

"Thankfully, most of the items ingested are only minimally harmful. However, some seemingly harmless holiday items can cause internal damage or even death to your pet," he said.

Items to watch out for:

  • Chocolate—Chocolate contains ingredients that can be toxic to pets. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. While dogs are the most susceptible, cats and other species may be affected, too. It is best to avoid letting any of your pets eat chocolate. If they have eaten chocolate and show signs of anxiety, agitation or vomiting, consult a veterinarian immediately.
  • Poinsettias and holly—These traditional holiday plants can cause mild irritation to a pet's mouth and may cause minor drooling, decreased appetite or vomiting. Seek if these signs progress.
  • Mistletoe—In small amounts, mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal irritation, possibly resulting in drooling, vomiting or diarrhea. Larger amounts could cause more severe harm. Consult veterinary care immediately if your pet has eaten any mistletoe.
  • Electrical cords—Pets can easily be electrocuted if they chew through holiday light cords, which are usually thin and not insulated. is a sign of electrocution, as well as a burn mark across the lips or tongue. Consult veterinary care immediately if your pet has these signs.
  • Tinsel—While it makes a beautiful decoration, tinsel can be deadly to your pet if swallowed. It can easily cause an intestinal blockage and leakage of the consumed material into the abdomen. If you suspect your has eaten tinsel, and it has a loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea, seek veterinary care.
Keep a close eye on your cats and dogs around these items to help to ensure a safe and happy . The best medicine may be prevention.

Explore further: Moving puppy from naughty list to nice with obedience training

Related Stories

Moving puppy from naughty list to nice with obedience training

December 3, 2010

It might be cute to watch a puppy chew up a holiday stocking on Christmas morning, but pet owners might want to consider the gift of behavior training to ensure a happy life with their pet, says a Purdue University veterinarian.

Christmas treats dangerous for pets

December 15, 2010

Pet owners could avoid emergency visits to the vet over the holiday season by following a few simple guidelines from the staff of the University of Adelaide's School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.

Recommended for you

Research advances on transplant ward pathogen

August 28, 2015

The fungus Cryptococcus causes meningitis, a brain disease that kills about 1 million people each year—mainly those with impaired immune systems due to AIDS, cancer treatment or an organ transplant. It's difficult to treat ...

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.