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Christmas Dangers for Pets

Holiday season can be the best time of year for pets! They are surrounded by their favorite people and a world of toys. However, before you get caught up in the Christmas fun, you should be aware of the dangers that Christmastime can present to your pet.


Poinsettias are very popular plants during the Christmas season. There is a common belief that the poinsettia is highly toxic, but this is not actually true. However, it is mildly irritating to the skin or stomach, and may sometimes cause diarrhea and vomiting. If your pet eats poinsettia, expect to treat diarrhea with GI Synbiotics and Kaolin Pectin, but don’t expect any lasting issues.


Turkey and chicken bones fracture when chewed, which make them able to puncture the intestine. This causes a lot of pain, and the infection can escape the intestine into the abdomen. Dogs will require surgery and a long-term antibiotic. Many even die from the resulting infection. At the very least, your pet will have pain and scar tissue. Feel free to give meat bites as treats, but keep the bones away from your pets!


Candy in moderation is okay, but giving a Yorkie one small piece of candy is the same as humans eating a whole bag - it's a lot of sugar! Be cautious - candy can cause issues with pancreatitis and diabetes. Chocolate is toxic to pets and can even be fatal. The theobromine and caffeine in chocolate can take days to detoxify in animals. Dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate are the most toxic, while white chocolate has small amounts of theobromine so toxicity is doubtful. However, it's best to stay away from candy completely.


Wrapping is a great non-toxic toy, but use caution with ribbon and string! These will stretch throughout the intestine and cut through the lining with every corner they turn. These slices are difficult to locate and nearly impossible to seal. Most cases will result in a long-term antibiotic and long-term recovery, and pets can die from the effects on the intestine.


Sidewalks with salt or even worse, chemical snow melt, can cause foot irritation and cracking. Pets will lick it from their paws, which causes mouth burns and GI upset. You should melt ice with salt, not chemical ice melts. Wash their feet off and use a topical pad ointment if you encounter a problem.


Holiday travel is easier if you take your pet’s bed or kennel with you. Once you've arrived, taking them for a short walk around the area and showing them where the bed is set up can ease the anxiety of both your host and your pet. You should also kennel them when you are gone. More than once I have treated dogs for consuming large amounts of chocolate when the owners were attending Christmas services.


Using calming agents can also help pets during the extra activity. Doc Roy's Docile Dog is naturally formulated to calm the anxious dog. Double the dose for two days, then give them the normal dose until December 26. Calming products help you avoid tranquilizing your pet, but they also help pet's maintain normal behavior.

With a little prevention, you can keep your Christmas season a merry one. From all of us at Revival – God bless your time with your family and four-legged friends!

If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.

-Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health

The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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For over 25 years, Revival Animal Health has been caring for people who care for pets by delivering quality, reliable products, along with customer service that's committed to your needs. Owners, breeders and shelters count on us because we too love pets, and provide the knowledge, understanding and genuine care it takes to keep them happy and healthy. We feel this is truly what it means to serve you with Pet Care from the Heart®.

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