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Holiday Hazards

Bright shining Christmas bulbs, beautiful holiday flower arrangements, and delicious homemade cookies and treats are all things that make the holidays a special time of year for us all.  For our household pets, however, it can mean an encounter with a "Holiday Hazard".

Christmas trees and their decorations are a sign of the season, however, special care needs to be taken when it comes to our companion pets.  Tree food or preservative used in the water for your tree can be toxic to your pet.  Prevent access to the water meant for the tree, but keep THEIR water bowl full at all times. 

Tinsel, ribbon, and ornaments for the tree can pose the risk of a foreign body ingestion and/or a very upset stomach.  Signs of foreign body ingestion include lethargy, inappetance, and vomiting.

Electrical cords and batteries used for lighting of the tree can be tempting as well.  Be sure cords and batteries are out of reach of household pets.

Holiday flowers can be a risk to our pets.  Poinsettia, Christmas Cactus, American Mistletoe, and American Holly are all popular in holiday decorations, gifts, and arrangements.  All of these can cause gastrointestinal upset, and some of them can be fatal.  If you have these plants in your home during the holiday season, be sure to place them where your animal will be unable to reach them.

The wonderful foods we enjoy during the holidays are also off limits to our pets.  Chocolate, coffee, fatty foods, garlic, grapes, onions, salt, Macadamia nuts, alcoholic beverages, avocados, and yeast breads are just some of the foods that can cause your pet to become very ill.  If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate and you are concerned that it may be a toxic amount, visit our Chocolate Toxicity page for more information.  Many pet and specialty stores make safe pet treats for the holidays, so stick to "pet-only" treats to avoid possible illness.  Keeping animals confined during holiday parties where plates of food will be readily available can also help.  It's also important to let your friends and family know what is OK for your pet to eat. 

If you suspect your pet as eaten any of these items, contact us at 262-569-0801.  If you need to reach someone after-hours or on the weekends, contact the Emergency Veterinary Service in Waukesha at 262-542-3241.  Other numbers that may be helpful include the Animal Poison Hotline at 888-232-8870 and the Animal Poison Control Center at the ASPCA at 888-426-4435.  Be aware that the poison control centers may charge a fee.

The entire staff of Hallett Veterinary Hospital hopes you and your pets have a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!!

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