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Watch For These Five Holiday Toxins!

As the holiday weekend approaches and you prepare to host family and friends, make sure you keep your furry friends in mind! Many of the treats that we love are dangerous for cats and dogs.

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, these are the top 5 toxins they receive calls about over the holidays.

  1. CHOCOLATE!!!! Can you guess why this well known toxin is number one on the list, despite the fact that most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs? It’s because it so often gets wrapped up and stuck under the tree, where your dog can definitely smell it through the wrapping paper. Also a problem, dogs tend to shred the paper or even eat the packaging, making it difficult to know the exact ingredients they have eaten, complicating treatment. And with the increasing popularity of chocolate varieties with high cocoa content, it takes very little chocolate to make a dog sick.
  2. TREE PRESERVATIVES  If you have a real tree, it only makes sense that you want it to last. But additives to the water in the stand can cause issues if your dog or cat drinks from the stand. Chances are doing so will just cause mild intestinal upset, but the last thing you really need on a holiday is a dog with diarrhea, right? Plus, if the additive is contaminated with bacteria, you could end up with a very sick pet on your hands and a trip to the Pet ER. If you have a live tree, water it with plain water. If you really want to use the additive, cover the stand so your pet can’t drink from it.
  3. POINSETTIAS This cheery plant has long had the reputation for being poisonous, particularly to cats, but they aren’t nearly that dangerous. Ingesting leaves or parts of the plant primarily causes mucus membrane irritation, and cats might hypersalivate.
  4. HUMAN MEDICATIONS If you have kids, chances are they’ve had the sniffles this winter, and if you have house guests, they might bring their own prescriptions with them. Beware of grandma’s purse and ask your guests to keep their meds out of reach. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen and various decongestants are all toxic to pets.
  5. ALCOHOL That sweet drink that goes down a little too easily? Your dog might like it too. Alcohol ingestion is usually seen in small dogs that climb on furniture to help themselves to mom’s eggnog. Many dogs will vomit after ingesting alcohol, but some won’t, and alcohol is easily and quickly absorbed. Eat, drink and be merry, but be aware of where you set your glass down.

And as usual, make sure all decorations are secure, lit candles out of reach, and skip the tinsel on the tree.  Happy Safe Holidays!

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