Holiday Health Hazards

Holiday Lights

Decorative lights are an attraction to a curious dog and cat (and ferrets too) and can cause serious injury should your pet chew on the wires or even the bulbs. Check regularly for signs of bite marks on the cords or signs of frayed wires. It is best to only have the indoor lights turned on when you are home - You don’t want your pet chewing through a live wire when you are not home.
Symptoms: Burns, irregular heart beat, abnormal and difficult breathing and in severe cases - loss of consciousness and death.


Chocolate is very dangerous to dogs and cats. Generally speaking, chocolates purchased during the Holiday Season tend to be very rich and high in cocoa which make them a large potential hazard and ingestion can be fatal if left untreated. If you notice your pet has ingested chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately as vomiting can be induced if ingestion was recent.
Symptoms: Vomiting and diarrhea, excitability, rapid and irregular heart beat, imbalance and potential for death.

Christmas Trees

While the most common Christmas Trees are not toxic to dogs or cats, there are some additives and chemicals that may be placed in the water reserve to preserve the Christmas Tree. These can pose a threat to dogs and cats drinking the water. Make sure to read the label to identify if the product is safe for pets
Symptoms: Depends on the additive/chemical but most in most cases vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain are noted.


Cats love to play with the long strands of tinsel and other string-like items and can cause serious problems if ingested. Often, one end of the tinsel will become anchored while the rest is pulled by the intestines as they contract. Prognosis often depends on the timing of treatment so it is best to see your veterinarian if you know or suspect your cat has ingested a string-like object.
Symptoms: Loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy and depression.

Poisonous Plants - Poinsettia and Mistletoe

Poinsettias usually are only a minor concern if you pet is exposed to the leaves. Large quantities need to be ingested for serious health concerns to arise.
Symptoms - Oral irritation, vomiting and diarrhea; More serious symptoms can develop if a large quantity is ingested.

Mistletoe is more toxic than poinsettias and veterinary advise should be sought immediately after ingestion.
Symptoms - Vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and shock.

From all of us at Kingsdale Animal Hospital, we wish the very best for you, your family and of course your pets during this Holiday Season!!