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Angell Memorial’s Guide To Holiday Season Pet Hazards

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(Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Along with holiday and winter fun come a host of hazards for pets. To help pet owners, Angell Memorial Hospital has put out a list of the top items that you should keep away from your pets this holiday season.

1. Chocolate or Coffee:  Clinical effects such as vomiting, rapid heart rate and signs of anxiety can be seen with the ingestion of as little as 1/4 ounce of baking chocolate by a 10-pound dog. Coffee can produce the same side effects.

2. Christmas tree preservative/water:  Preservative may contain fertilizers, which, if ingested, can upset the stomach. Stagnant tree water can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can also lead to vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.

3. Ornaments, ribbons, tinsel: While none of these are directly toxic, ribbon and tinsel can cause gastrointestinal blockage that can be life-threatening to pets.

4. Holiday plants: holly, mistletoe, lilies, poinsettia: Eating holly could produce nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. If a dog or cat ingests mistletoe, gastrointestinal upset and possibly even cardiovascular problems could result. All parts of lilies (both Lilium and Hemerocallis species) are highly toxic to cats, with the potential to produce life-threatening kidney failure even from small ingestions. While the toxic potential of poinsettia has been greatly exaggerated, mild stomach upset could still occur if ingested.

5. Yeast dough: If swallowed, uncooked yeast dough can rise in the stomach and cause extreme discomfort. Pets who have eaten bread dough may experience abdominal pain, bloat, vomiting, disorientation and depression. Since a breakdown product of rising dough is alcohol, it can also potentially cause alcohol poisoning. Many yeast ingestions require surgical removal of the dough, and even small amounts can be dangerous.

6. Table food (fatty, spicy), moldy foods, poultry bones: Poultry bones can splinter and cause damage or blockage in the gastrointestinal tract. Spicy or fatty foods could possibly lead to inflammation of the pancreas. Additionally, moldy or spoiled foods could produce food poisoning, tremors or seizures.

7. Macadamia nuts: In dogs, ingestions can produce vomiting, weakness (particularly in the hind legs), depression, lack of coordination and tremors.
8. Alcoholic beverages: If ingested, alcohol can potentially result in vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, acidosis, coma and even death.

9. Grapes, raisins: Ingestion of raisins and grapes have been associated with acute kidney failure in dogs.

Angell’s emergency room is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Angell Emergency Line: 617-522-7282
Angell Animal Poison Control Hotline at 877-2ANGELL

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