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How to Stay Out of the ER this Holiday Season

The last thing you want to do in the middle of a good holiday party is take an emergency trip to the vet, and a big vet bill is probably a worse gift than a lump of coal. We here at My Vet just wanted to take a little time to help you avoid these scenarios by outlining some of the common dangers to pets during the holidays.


Holiday decorations and lights are beautiful to look at and get everyone into the spirit, but without proper precautions some of them can be very harmful to our pets. Things like tinsel can be tempting, shiny toys to cats, and if ingested can get tangled up in intestines and require surgery to remove. Be mindful to blow out candles as they can easily be knocked over, and unplug electrical cords when you leave as they can be tempting chew toys to mischievous dogs and cats. Decorative plants like poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, and even pine needles can be dangerously toxic to cats and dogs; if ingested, immediate treatment is required to prevent serious illness or death. Lilies are especially toxic to cats, and even a tiny amount can induce kidney failure.


The holidays are abound with tasty treats of all sorts, and it can be tempting to share people food and table scraps with pets during special occasions. Unfortunately, many human foods can make pets very sick and cause vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis, organ failure, or even death. Chocolate, alcohol, meat drippings, turkey/turkey skins, grapes, and raisins should ALWAYS be avoided. Additionally, it’s always best to forgo sweets as they often contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is known to cause liver failure.


Having people coming and going for parties or strangers staying for extended times can make any pet nervous. We recommend making a safe space for your pet in a familiar room with a comfy bed and favorite toys to ensure they feel like they have a place to retreat to if overwhelmed. It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on doors to avoid any pets making an escape while we greet people or take coats. Always let any visitors to your home know ahead of time that you have pets, and avoid having people bring their pets to your home unless your pets are familiar with each other or you have ample time beforehand to introduce them.

Hopefully this little bit of information will be helpful in keeping your furry loved ones safe and healthy as we work on ringing in the New Year! Of course, if at any time you have questions please don’t hesitate to call us. We will be closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, but otherwise will be keeping normal hours.

Should you need any assistance over the holiday, please refer to our local emergency veterinarians! MedVet Chicago and Premier Vet Group are staffed 24/7 (including holidays) should you need emergency care.

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