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Keep Your Pet Safe from These Holiday Toxins

December 1, 2014

The holiday season is here, and with it comes a variety of potential pet toxins. Some are most likely already in your home! Below, your Troy vet discusses what to watch for and how to prevent danger.

Holiday Plants

Mistletoe and holly have been known to produce toxic reactions in pets who ingest too much, so be wary of these common holiday plants. Poinsettias, while not truly toxic, produce a milky sap substance that can irritate the mouth and stomach if a pet swallows a lot. Keep a close eye on these holiday plants, especially if your pet is the curious nibbler type!


Of course, chocolate is a holiday staple and is very dangerous for pets. It contains caffeine and theobromine, substances that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, difficulty breathing, and more in pets who swallow it. Remember that all types of chocolate—milk, dark, white, Baker’s, semi-sweet, etc.—can prove deadly. Store it safely where pets don’t have access.

Candy, Gum, Baked Goods

Candies, gum, and even certain baked goods are all often sweetened with xylitol, a sugar substitute that can poison pets. It won’t take much xylitol to do damage—as little as a stick and a half of xylitol-sweetened gum can cause toxic reactions in a small pet! Keep any goodies sweetened with xylitol far out of your pet’s grasp.

Alcoholic Beverages

Will your holiday celebrations include alcohol? Remember that it’s a big no-no for pets of all kinds. This goes for wine, beer, liquor, and champagne. Alcohol affects pets the same way if affects us, except that it doesn’t take much to do serious damage to a pet’s systems. Never leave beverages unattended, because a pet can all too easily gulp some down!

Table Scraps

Too many fatty, salty, or buttery table scraps from your holiday meals aren’t good for pets. They can cause upset stomach or even pancreatitis in severe cases—make sure your holiday guests aren’t slipping your pet a bunch of treats under the table!

Ask your Troy veterinary professional about other holiday toxins, and remember to keep the clinic’s number close at hand to call in the event of an emergency.