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Holiday Hazards


          As we enjoy the holidays, we must remember that our furry,

     four-legged friends may respond differently.

               In fact, many of our holiday treats decorations and traditions can be harmful and even fatal to animals.

               Please keep your holidays happy by keeping some of the following in mind.

Holiday Plants:    

Lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. 

Holly can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and lethargy if ingested by your pet.

Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular (heart) problems.

Poinsettias plants can be irritating to your pet's mouth and may cause vomiting or nausea.

Opt for just-as-pretty artificial plants made from silk or plastic instead.


Christmas Tree Hazards:

  • Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers, which, if ingested, can upset the stomach. Stagnant tree water can be breeding grounds for bacteria, which can also lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Also the ‘powders’ added to the water can be toxic to cats.   
  • Electrical cords - Avoid animal exposure to electrical cords. If they are chewed they could electrocute your pet. Cover up or hide electrical cords and never let your pet chew on them.
  • Ribbons or tinsel can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction, tearing and ultimately a painful death from the peritonitis, especially in cats, who love to play with ribbons and tinsel.
  • Batteries contain corrosives, and if ingested they can cause ulceration to the mouth, tongue, and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • If your dog or cat ingests pine tree needles, she can suffer an upset stomach and oral pain. 
  • Glass ornaments can cause internal laceration when ingested.  And yes, this happens. 
  • Christmas gifts that may contain food or candy can be smelled by your dog and are often opened early by them and eaten, sometimes with paper, wrappers and plastic. 
  • Consider keeping all of these items out of reach, or put a temporary gate to the room with the tree. 

Sweet Treats:

Chocolate  contains Theobromine and Caffeine, both cause stimulation of the central nervous system, an increase in heart rate and tremors.  Cocoa beans and baking chocolate have the highest amount of stimulants, white chocolate has the least. 

Clinical symptoms--vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity, and increased thirst, urination and heart rate can be seen with the ingestion of as little as 1/4 ounce of baking chocolate by a ten-pound dog.

Turkey, stuffing, ham, and all the fixings  Too many fatty, rich, or even NEW types of food can cause gastroenteritis or pancreatitis.  Both can be painful and serious, so just say “NO” to your pet and let him enjoy the holidays with an extra dog or cat friendly treat instead.  Be aware that they will smell the leftovers in the trash and ingest harmful foods that may be potentially spoiled as well.

Bones Ham and turkey bones are tasty but can splinter, especially after cooking, and tear your pets digestive tract.

Onion Onions can cause hemolytic anemia – destruction of red blood cells – even in small amounts mixed into other foods.  

Antifreeze Very small amounts of antifreeze can be fatal to dogs and cats if ingested. Unfortunately, animals are attracted to its sweet taste.  So be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle. You may also want to consider switching to a propylene glycol-based antifreeze, which is significantly less toxic than conventional ethylene glycol antifreeze. This will provide an added margin of safety for pets and wildlife, but remember--no antifreeze is absolutely safe.

Of course, accidents happen or guests are unaware, so please contact us at the first sign of any symptoms or suspected exposure to toxic or harmful items.  We hope you can enjoy your holidays without us, but we are here to help your pet if necessary.

We hope you all have a joyous and safe holiday season!

Drs. Keeney and Jenkins and the staff of Siena Animal Hospital


        Holiday Hours

        Christmas Eve  Open until 12pm

       Christmas Day  Closed

          New Year’s Eve  Open until 12pm

           New Year’s Day 2020  Closed

For emergencies, please contact:

Animal Emergency Clinic @ Patrick & Pecos 702-457-8050

Las Vegas Animal Emergency Hospital @ Charleston & Decatur  702-822-1045

Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care @ Durango & Tropicana 702-262-7070