Fielding D. O’Niell, DVM, MS
Please be aware that certain holiday items may be harmful to your pets. Poinsettia and Mistletoe are both toxic and will cause severe gastroenteritis if ingested. Raisins have been shown to cause acute kidney failure in dogs and macadamia nuts cause a severe neurotoxic reaction if ingested. Most of you already know that chocolate is toxic and should be avoided, but all candy should be avoided. A sweetener, xylatol, in many candies causes hypoglycemia and liver disease. The water in the Christmas tree stand can leach toxic chemicals, so make sure to cover the tree stand so your pet won't drink the water. Tinsel is very attractive to cats and if swallowed, it can saw through the small intestine. If you hang tinsel on your tree, please hang 'em high so your cat won't require an emergency "tinselectomy" surgery. It's tempting to feed pets dinner table leftovers, but spicy, rich foods can cause gastroenteritis or even a potentially fatal pancreatitis. Foods cooked with onions or garlic can also cause hemolytic anemia. Please resist the temptation to feed your pets holiday leftovers. They don't need to eat our food anymore than we need to eat theirs. Finally, if you are considering giving someone a puppy or kitten as a holiday gift, please check with them first. Unfortunately, the shelters are full of returned "gifts".