Shelter Health

Top 5 Holiday Toxins

Christmas is a particularly busy time of year at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, and the five items below account for the majority of holiday calls. Be sure to download our top toxins poster and place it in your office or share on social media to help warn pet owners!

Grab the free poster

In order, the top holiday toxins are:

1. Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate

This tasty treat is hands-down the winner for most calls at Christmas (Halloween and Valentine's Day don't even come close). Why? Usually it's because of wrapped chocolate gifts left under the tree. And often a pet has shredded wrapping paper to get to the treat, thus destroying the chance to learn exactly what ingredients have been ingested. Also, with the growing popularity of higher cocoa content, it takes even less candy to get our four-legged friends into a world of trouble. To test your treatment strategy, check out this chocolate ingestion case study.

2. Tree Preservatives

What is generally seen is mild gastrointestinal upset. However, if there is bacterial contamination, the potential for gastrointestinal upset can be more significant. Treatment plan? Dilute, monitor at home and move on. Read about some more holiday ingestion worries.

3. Poinsettias

Poinsettias are primarily mucous-membrane irritants – and despite the worry they cause pet owners, the plants aren't usually too dangerous if treated properly. Check out our poinsettia ingestion treatment article.

4. Medications

Guests. Winter colds. Kids home from school. This trifecta of medication dangers calls for caution. Add the fact that worried pet owners generally can't remember how much medicine was actually in that little baggie that the pup ate, and you can just feel a headache coming on. Any and all medications need to be stored up high or in a locked cabinet. Check out our five tips to avoid improper pet medication exposures.

5. Alcohol

Yes, some days we feel like going home and having a stiff drink after dealing with all those chocolate cases. However, right now we are talking about the little Chihuahua who likes to scale the couch and help herself to the owner's eggnog. The good news: Pets usually vomit alcohol after ingestion. The bad news: Alcohol is absorbed quickly.

More APCC Resources

Share these holiday safety tips with clients and on social media.
Visit us on Facebook for daily APCC news and conversation.
Sign up for the monthly APCC newsletter here.

You Might Also Like

Shelter Health Poison Control Tips