Pets and Christmas
Story Date: 12/7/2010

Thanksgiving has come and gone and most dogs probably successfully begged for a piece of turkey or ham, but hopefully did not get hold of any bird bones, which can splinter and catch in their throats. Also, you should have skipped handing out chunks of dressing.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warns sage and other herbs and spices can upset a dog or cat's gastrointestinal system and, in large amounts, depress their central nervous system.

Bones and fat may be just what your pets crave, but it's best to keep the table scraps to a minimum since too much food can cause diarrhea and even pancreatitis.

Even pets not normally scavengers will camp out by a trash can after dinner in hopes of getting to scraps thrown away. So, be sure the container is sturdy and self-closing to avoid any mishaps.

A favorite dog snack is better than table scraps as most people seek to include their pets in the holiday fun. 

You can further pet-proof your home by removing household chemicals, potentially poisonous houseplants (like poinsettias, mistletoe, amaryllis lilies, red azaleas, paper whites and even Christmas trees that contain fir oil), and keep electrical cords, Christmas lights, tinsel, liquid potpourri, chocolate, sugar-free snacks and fruitcake out of reach.

Glass ornaments can be munched on, tinsel, ribbon and icicles can cause intestinal blockages in pets and tree preservatives can be toxic.

Make sure your Christmas tree is well anchored so that the pets can't knock it down.

If a cat or dog swallows a wad of ribbon don't try to pull it out; call the vet or head for a veterinary emergency room.

Watch the packages and especially presents containing food. Curious pets have been known to tears into packages of edibles, eating the complete contents, wrapping and all.

Holidays can be stressful times for both pets and their owners as some animals are left alone for longer periods than usual and others are exposed to a lot more excitement than normal at family gatherings and parties.

If small children are running around the situation can become even more chaotic. Pets may have to be restricted if too many strangers are around, especially if alcohol beverages are being served.


NC Veterinary Medical Association
1611 Jones Franklin Road, Suite 108
Raleigh, NC 27606-3376
Tel: (919) 851-5850
Fax: (919) 851-5859