by Gigi McWhirter, Casa Grande Animal Hospital

The winter holiday season is a special time, often filled celebrating with family and friends. With all the hustle and bustle it is easy to forget the pet-proofing measures set in place the rest of the year. To help keep your pets out of danger during the holidays please put this list on your list of lists:

1. CHOCOLATE – The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous to your pet. This includes baker’s chocolate. While 90 percent of chocolate toxicity emergency calls are about dogs eating chocolate, it is important to note that cats can also have an adverse reaction. Also important to know, regular or chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and espresso beans can dispense an unhealthy dose of methylxanthines to pets.

2. ALCOHOL – It is dangerous in any form, such as rum cake, any baked good, candy containing alcohol or drinking any alcoholic beverage.

3. YEAST DOUGH – Once in the stomach, yeast dough can rise because the stomach acts as an oven that turns the yeast in the dough into carbon dioxide and ethanol. The extra carbon dioxide can cause the animal to bloat which can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. The ethanol can lead to alcohol poisoning. Baked bread can be used as a treat, but should be less than 10 percent of your pet’s daily intake.

4. GRAPES & RAISINS – Grapes, in any form including raisins in breads and baked goods, are dangerous. While the toxic substance is unknown, they can cause kidney failure.

5. MEDICATIONS – Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of reach – preferably in a closed cabinet. Remind your guests to do the same. DO NOT OFFER ANY MEDICATIONS to any animal without first consulting a veterinarian – a real veterinarian, not “Dr. Google” or “Dr. Internet.”

6. CHRISTMAS TREE HAZARDS – Be mindful of pets around holiday tree and décor items. This includes Christmas tree water, electric cords, ribbons, tinsel, ornament hangers, batteries, glass ornaments and potpourris in any form.

7. PLANTS – Lilies can be deadly or cause kidney failure in your cat. If your cat should consume a lily, in any form, contact your veterinarian immediately. If you are able, take the flower with you to the vet’s office to allow for proper diagnosis and treatment. Mistletoe and holly can lead to severe gastrointestinal issues, trouble breathing and in extreme cases, heart failure. Poinsettias can irritate the mouth and stomach and can also cause nausea and vomiting.

8. XYLITOL – This sugar substitute found in candy, gum, peanut butter and other recipes may cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures and in extreme cases, liver failure.

9. RAT AND MOUSE POISON – It is critical that you place these products in areas that are inaccessible to companion animals.

10. CIGARETTES, CIGARS, TOBACCO & MARIJUANA. If your pet consumes any of these products, in any form, contact your veterinarian immediately.

BE PREPARED: Keep the following numbers stored in your phones and a written list placed in a prominent place where all members of the household can find them.

VETERINARIAN: _______________________________

AFTER HOURS EMERGENCY VETERINARIAN: _______________________________



Here’s wishing you and yours a purr-fectly joy-filled howliday season full of tweet surprises!