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Your Pets and the Holidays: Pet Poison Helpline

November 18, 2009

So many times one hears the grief of someone who has lost their pet over the holidays.  We “deck the halls” in holiday spirit, but in that  enthusiasm,we  sometimes forget about our pets’ safety.  I found this article on  And I’m hoping those who believe they are aware of any and all safety hazards, give this article a read …..  maybe just because we’re only human and tend to think we know it all, when in reality we do not …..

I have left links associated with this article intact for further research.


By Wendy Harris

The Helpline wants to make sure everyone knows the dangers that could be lurking in a festive household.

And, if something dreadful should come to pass, the Hotline wants to make sure you have its number handy.  Pet Poison Helpline is a service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners , veterinarians and vet techs that require assistance treating a possibly poisoned pet.

Pet Poison Helpline does charge a fee of $35 which includes follow-up consultation for the duration of the poison case. 

Pet Poison Helpline is available by calling 800-213-6680.

Now that you know the specifics, the Pet Poison Helpline would like to make sure you don’t have to call. It’s warning you against some common holiday pet dangers: 

Holiday Ornaments:  Decorations such as lights may contain poisonous chemicals.  Methylene chloride, the chemical in bubble lights, can result in depression, pneumonia and irritation to the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract.  

Tinsel:  If you own a cat, forgo the tinsel. What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested.  Tinsel does not pose a poisoning risk but can cause severe damage to a cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed.

Plants: Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic. Far more worrisome are holiday bouquets containing lilies, holly or mistletoe.  “Lilies, including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer, Easter and day lilies, are the most dangerous plants for cats,” said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, assistant direct of Pet Poison Helpline.  “The ingestion of one to two leaves or flower petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure in cats.”  

Holiday Foods:  With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise (and in some cases is quite dangerous) to share these treats with your pets.  
Alcohol:   Because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, it affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature.  Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure.
 Imported Snow Globes:  Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze (ethylene glycol).  As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size), can be fatal.  And, remember, any kind of globe can look like a fun ball to a pet. 

 When it comes to the holidays, the best thing a pet owner can do is get educated on common household toxins and pet-proof your home accordingly.  If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian, another pet emergency room or Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.


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