December 22, 2021 Responsible Pet Ownership Vet Life

How to Keep Your Pet Off the Naughty List (and out of the Emergency Room)

A turkey bone lodged in a dog's throat

How to Keep Your Pet Off the Naughty List (and out of the Emergency Room)

The holiday season is a time of celebrations and a time spent with friends and family. But at AMC, it can be a time of increased animal ER visits. With more special treats around the house, the risk your pet can eat foods from the naughty list increases. When we’re with friends and family, focused on fun and gifts, we let our guard down, and pets take advantage of our inattention get into things better avoided. Eating foods from the naughty list can land your pet in the AMC’s animal ER. Here’s a list of some holiday treats that landed our furry friends in AMC’s ER.

1. Bones: Dangerous Leftovers for Pets

AMC’s holiday season started off with an ER visit for a Yorkie that feasted on some Thanksgiving leftovers and had a turkey bone lodge in her esophagus. Lucky for her, AMC’s Internal Medicine team was able to remove the bone using an endoscope. You can see the bone in the esophagus in the photo accompanying this blogpost. But it’s not just turkey bones that pose a threat to our pets: any type of bone can get lodged in the intestinal track. Don’t give your dogs any bones left from the crown roast or prime rib, if you want to avoid an ER visit.

2. Chocolate: On the Naughty List Year-Round

In a survey of pet poisons around Valentine’s Day, chocolate was the main culprit responsible for hospitalization at AMC. Since both Hanukkah and Christmas feature chocolate treats, AMC’s ER always sees a spate of chocolate intoxication this time of year. Sure enough, AMC’s ER recently treated a dog that ate 8 ounces of dark chocolate and spent the night having his EKG monitored in ICU.

3. Plants: Pretty and Pretty Toxic

Plants are common holiday gifts, but you should choose carefully if the recipient is a pet owner. AMC has created an infographic to help you gift a pet-safe plant.

AMC’s ER has treated two somewhat unusual plant intoxications this holiday season. First, a rabbit was hospitalized for ingesting fiddle leaf fig leaves. These leaves contain oxalates which are razor sharp and damage the delicate tissues of the mouth and throat. Then a young dog was treated for intoxication by hops, a common ingredient for home beer brewing. The toxic elements in hops are unknown, but ingestion of hops causes a high heart rate, elevated temperature, panting, and sometimes seizures. Both the young dog and the rabbit recovered, but not until they had spent a night at AMC being closely monitored and treated with intravenous fluids.

The Holidays are Busy for Veterinary Emergency Rooms Everywhere

Increased holiday visits to the animal ER for snacking from the naughty list are not unique to AMC. One animal hospital reports a dog that landed in the ER because she ate a pack of game console batteries that fell on the floor.

Additionally, the Pet Poison Helpline is cautioning pet owners about salt tree ornaments commonly made by children in school. Salt Christmas tree ornaments are treasured by parents, but hanging one on the Christmas tree in reach of the family dog will land them on the naughty list and possibly the ER. A small dog eating salt ornaments off the tree can quickly develop salt toxicity. To help keep your pet out of the animal ER, AMC has suggestions on how to make your Christmas tree pet-safe.

From all of us at AMC, we wish you and your favorite fur, feather and scale persons a healthy and ER-free holiday season!

Tags: bones, chocolate, christmas, holidays, pet poisons,

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