Common holiday items and food can be harmful to dogs, cats and other animals

SACRAMENTO, CA (December 8, 2008) – United Animal Nations (UAN) today issued a list of the 25 winter-related substances that are most hazardous to pets. UAN advises all pet owners to use caution with the following items this season:

Alcohol
Aluminum foil
Anti-freeze
Avocado
Candles/open flames
Cellophane
Chocolate
Christmas tree water
Coffee
Cooked bones
Electrical cords
Fatty foods
Glass ornaments

Grapes and raisins
Holly berries
Ice-melting chemicals and salt
Lilies 
Macadamia nuts
Mistletoe
Nicotine
Onions
Poinsettias
Ribbons
Tinsel
Uncooked yeast dough

“Items that seem harmless to us can cause serious illness or injury to our pets,” said UAN President and CEO Nicole Forsyth. “For example, tinsel, ribbons and cellophane wrappers, if swallowed, can create intestinal obstructions that could require surgery to treat.”

Forsyth offered three simple tips for pet-proofing your home this holiday season:

  • Resist the temptation to reward pets with “people food.” Sweets, especially chocolate, are dangerous for pets. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and hyperactivity, along with increased thirst, urination and heart rate. Candies containing a sweetener called xylitol are also toxic. Poultry bones can splinter and cause blockages, and greasy, spicy and fatty foods can cause upset stomachs.
  • Decorate with caution. Tinsel, ribbons, aluminum foil and cellophane can all cause intestinal blockages if ingested. Glass ornaments can cause injury and electrical wires can shock animals who chew on them. Cover Christmas tree water with a tree skirt because it may contain fertilizers or bacteria that could make your pets sick if they drink it.
  • Go faux.Since many common plants, like mistletoe, poinsettias, holly berries and lilies can all be toxic to animals, keep these items well out of reach or consider using artificial versions.

“The holidays are a time to relax and enjoy the company of loved ones, both two-legged and four-legged,” Forsyth said. “We want pet owners to exercise caution so they can avoid unnecessary and stressful trips to the veterinarian.”

Founded in 1987, United Animal Nations (UAN) focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and into care through a variety of programs, including emergency animal sheltering and disaster relief services, financial assistance for urgent veterinary care and humane education.

###

  Return to Press Releases