Holiday Hazards

Along with holiday and winter fun our pets and, in particular, puppies and our ever hungry Corgis, are subject to hazards by substances that if ingested can be harmful or even cause death.

1. Chocolate and Coffee
Clinical effects such as vomiting, rapid heart rate, signs of anxiety or hyperactivity 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, festoons, tinsel

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

4. Popular 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.

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, life-threatening bloat or even gastric torsion, 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

Ingestions of raisins and grapes have been associated with acute kidney failure in dogs.

10. And finally, to be on the safe side, don't hang any edible decorations on the Christmas tree and never put packages containing food under the tree if you have pets.