With the holiday season fast approaching, pet owners should be reminded that festive foods and four-legged friends don’t mix.


It’s a time for sharing but don’t share the holiday meal with your pets.

One year our veterinary staff treated a small dachshund and his even smaller sister that had somehow snatched an untended turkey off a coffee table and gorged themselves on the leftovers. Feeding pets table scraps can be a recipe for trouble.

  • Turkey bones are hollow and break easily, splintering into sharp pieces, which, when chewed, can cause blockage and perforate the intestinal tract.
  • A pet with a turkey bone lodged in his system may not show symptoms for 1 or 2 days.
  • When symptoms do occur, they may include loss of appetite, depression, diarrhea or vomiting. While the bone may pass by itself, sometimes it must be surgically removed.
  • Even if you don’t feed your pets from the table, it’s possible they might help themselves to untended food when no one is looking.
  • Besides the dangers associated with overeating, turkey sitting out too long at room temperature can cause salmonella organisms to multiply, poisoning the pet.

And be aware of your pet’s abilities. Several years back, someone’s pet pig learned how to open the refrigerator door and ended up eating everything inside, making a proverbial “pig of itself” and subsequently changing the expression “sick as a dog” to “sick as a pig.”


Whether your pets have been naughty or nice, there are some things that should definitely not be on their list to Santa.

  • Electrical cords- they will shock and burn if they are chewed.
  • Mistletoe is toxic and can kill.
  • Poinsettias, while not deadly, can cause mouth and stomach irritation if chewed.
  • Pine needles are sharp and can puncture intestines if swallowed.
  • Lit candles can create a major fire hazard if they are knocked over.
  • Ornaments and tinsel are dangerous if ingested.

There are many safe ways for your pet to be part of the holidays. Special cookies made for dogs, Christmas stockings with pet toys and picture taking with Santa Claus are just a few of the ways your furry friend can be included in the fun.

But, if despite all your precautions, an accident does occur, be sure to get your pet to a veterinarian right away. Don’t let a tragedy spoil this special time of year.