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Holiday Pet Health Tips

Pune Draker, ASPCA

“We see an increased number of calls related to pet poisoning during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s,” says Dr. Steven Hansen, director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC). Here’s one holiday list you can use to keep the furry members of your family happy and healthy this season.

Holiday Pet Health Tips


  • Season’s eatings shouldn’t include holiday greenery such as holly, mistletoe, lilies and amaryllis. While commonly used to deck the halls, they can make your pet sick if ingested.
  • Look before you light. Lit candles produce fumes that can be harmful to birds if inhaled. And don’t forget, your pet’s wagging tail can easily knock over a burning candle. Liquid potpourri is also dangerous to pets, who could ingest it from decorative bowls and simmering pots.
  • Oh, Christmas tree! Their branches definitely delight pets, who’ve been known to chew on them–and whatever decorations may be hanging from them. Place small, breakable ornaments high up, and keep tinsel and garland out of your pet’s reach, as these can get caught in his throat. And make sure that pine needles, which can be toxic, don’t get eaten.
  • Keep batteries–loose and in packages–away from pets. They contain corrosives that can cause ulceration in your animal companion’s mouth, tongue and gastrointestinal tract if bitten or swallowed.
  • Shy animals can get stressed with the hustle and bustle of holiday guests, so make sure there’s a quiet room to which your pets can retreat.
  • Don’t allow your pet access to holiday spreads, especially if you’ve got a chow hound. Alcoholic beverages, chocolate, coffee, onions, fatty foods, yeast dough and macadamia nuts can all cause problems.

If you suspect your pet has gotten into a potentially poisonous substance, call your veterinarian or the APCC’s emergency hotline–1-888-4-ANI-HELP–for round-the-clock telephone assistance. For more information on poison prevention, visit APCC online.

Courtesy of
424 East 92nd St.
New York, NY 10128-6804
(212) 876-7700

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