With the holiday season rapidly approaching, one of the last things a person or a family needs to do is to make an emergency visit to their veterinarian because of a sick pet. Even though it is impossible to list all of the thousands of things that can cause harm to our cats and dogs in this short report, my hope is that by highlighting a few of the more common problems I see or hear about in my veterinary practice every year around the winter holiday season, that I can help save your pets any unnecessary misery—or perhaps even save their lives. Not to mention that, in these financially difficult times, such emergency visits often cost a huge amount of money. The complete seven page report which includes toxic dosages, action plans, and poison control center phone numbers is available *FREE* on my website: http://www.worldsvet.com

1. CHOCOLATE
Of all of the emergency calls I get from pet owners during all hours of the day and night, one of the most common involves dogs (mostly) and their intentional or accidental eating of chocolate. From brownies to chocolate fudge cake mixes, from Hershey’s Kisses to imported Belgian chocolate-covered cherries, everyone wants to know, “Doc, can chocolate kill my dog?” The answer is, “Depending on how much they ate, yes, yes, yes. It can!”

2. THE HOLIDAY MEALS
Every year, beginning around one week before Thanksgiving and lasting until about a week after New Year’s, I see a huge increase in really, really sick dogs (mostly) and cats (infrequently.) These poor critters are really hurting! They all are vomiting—retching would be a better term—some have diarrhea, and most have so much pain in their abdomens that they have to stand in a stiff, straight-legged, sawhorse stance. Almost all of them have an acknowledged recent history of what we veterinarians call dietary indiscretion. That is, these dogs and cats consumed either purposely, accidentally, or by their own covert efforts, more of something that they normally eat or consumed something that they should not have eaten at all!

3. THE CHRISTMAS TREE AND ASSOCIATED HOLIDAY DECORATIONS
There are hundreds of hazards that can potentially exist in a pet’s encounter with a Christmas tree, and it is impossible to list them all. Hands down, the biggest problem I see involving the Christmas tree are cats (mostly) and dogs consuming the tinsel. Besides the potential danger of absorbing the heavy metals on these tin or lead-coated tinsels, the biggest danger is them getting stuck in the pet’s intestinal tract, causing what we veterinarians call an intestinal blockage.

4. GRAPES AND RAISINS
The fact that grapes and, especially, raisins can be toxic to our dogs and cats is quite surprising to many people. But now that you know better, and from now on: NEVER FEED ANY GRAPES OR RAISINS TO YOUR PETS AGAIN! As few as seven raisins can kill a dog.

5) ALCOHOL POISONING
Pet owners and their guests usually forget to take into consideration that dogs are significantly lighter in body weight than humans. The twelve-ounce glass of spiked eggnog that causes 140-pound Aunt Debbie to dance naked on the dining room table can potentially kill 40-pound Clyde the basset hound. A second problem with intoxication (again using the example of Aunt Debbie) is that of inhibiting the dog’s inhibitions. When you lower this inhibition by alcohol or other drugs, your “nice” doggie could potentially turn into a biting and snarling (as we vets say) land shark. When this happens, you and your family and guests could get seriously hurt.

6. HOLIDAY PLANTS
Along with everything else our poor pets have to contend with during our holiday season, it is important as well to keep in mind our festive holiday plants. I’ll mention a few of the more common problematic plants, but it must be kept in mind that a complete list would fill volumes.

●Poinsettia, American mistletoe, Holly, Most forced bulb plants (daffodils, narcissi, tulips, autumn crocuses), Lilies, Amaryllis, and probably hundreds more!!!
●●American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222
●●ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 1-888-426-4435

7. ALL OF THE OTHER STUFF MOST PEOPLE DON’T THINK ABOUT
The list of items that can harm or kill your pet is infinite. But with an owner’s common sense and constant vigilance, the holiday season can be one of joy and excitement for all. Although far from complete, here are a few more things to pay attention to: Christmas candles and scented oils, onions, bread dough, seasonal medications, antifreeze, deicing products, batteries, tylenol, macadamia nuts, and many, many more.

Pet owners are welcome to download the complete seven page version of this report *FREE OF CHARGE* from my website: http://www.worldsvet.com

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