Pet Poison Helpline Warns of Holiday Toxins

As the holiday season gets into full swing, the danger posed to our pets by holiday foods, plants and decorations is being highlighted by the Pet Poison Helpline.

Holiday decorations and ornaments such as bubble lights, tinsel, snow globes and liquid potpourri can be dangerous to cats and dogs. Bubble lights may contain poisonous liquid chemicals which are released when chewed, including methylene chloride which can lead to pneumonia and irritation to the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract. Some imported snow globes can be made using antifreeze, and as little as one teaspoon can be fatal to dogs and cats. Affected animals may appear to be drunk or uncoordinated, and have excessive thirst. Even though such signs can seem to improve in the first 12 hours, crystals develop in the kidneys during this time, resulting in acute kidney failure.

All cats seem to enjoy playing with tinsel, but what would happen if your cat accidentally or intentionally ingests some? Tinsel does not pose a poisoning risk but can cause severe damage to a cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed. And if you like to make your home feel more inviting by warming aromatic scented oils or liquid potpourri, you should be aware that even a few licks can result in severe chemical burns, fever and difficulty breathing in cats. Many people give flower bouquets and plants as Christmas gifts. Although poinsettia plants have a bad reputation, they are in fact only mildly toxic. Far more dangerous are lilies, holly and mistletoe. Holly berries and mistletoe can be toxic to cats and dogs, and can cause gastrointestinal upset and even heart arrhythmias if ingested.

"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."

And finally, many of the foods that we humans like to indulge in over the holiday period are in fact very dangerous to cats and dogs. Grapes, raisins and currents – such as in fruit cakes – can result in kidney failure in dogs. Chocolate and cocoa, which contain theobromine, will cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats and dogs even in small quantities, and seizures and heart arrhythmias in greater quantities.

This news story is independently sourced and does not specifically endorse products or services offered by any company referenced in this article, or benefit from any association with any companies referenced.