Holiday Health Risks (for pets)

It’s much better to spend the time at home, around the fireplace, than at the veterinarian’s office or the emergency veterinary center. HOLIDAY HEALTH RISKS!!!

It’s wonderful to spend quality time with family during the holidays, even with your four-legged family members.  However, it’s much better to spend the time at home, around the fireplace, than at the veterinarian’s office or the emergency veterinary center.  Although it’s a topic you’ve probably heard about before, it’s one worth repeating.  HOLIDAY HEALTH RISKS!!!


  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Grapes/raisons 
  • Poinsettia Plants
  • Certain Nuts
  • Animals should not share many of the holiday treats that humans enjoy because of potential problems.  This article is much too short to list all of the potential problems, but the ASPCA does answer many of the most common questions



  • Pancreatitis is a serious and common problem to eating food that is not intended for animals.  A common holiday "treat" dogs receive is the turkey skin.  We see many animals come to the hospital after eating this "treat" and end up being treated for pancreatitis.  Pancreatitis causes a painful stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.  It's a common reason for visiting the veterinary hospital during the holiday season.



  • Tinsel – it can cause a blockage in your cat’s or dog’s intestine that may necessitate surgery.
  • Holiday lights – watch those new puppies, they may be chewing on the electrical cord or swallow the whole string of lights.  Yes, I have actually seen a Labrador swallow an entire string of Christmas lights.  Fortunately, the puppy made it, but not until after 2 hours of surgery.
  • Ornaments – those hooks to hang ornaments on the trees have a tendency to go down into puppy’s stomach and not come out without surgery.

Bottom line, veterinarians are animal lovers.  We want you to be able to spend time with your pets.  We understand that food and decorations are rampant throughout the holiday season.  But, for the sake of your pets, keep the human food out of the mouths of animals and watch your Christmas decorations.

Instead, buy good quality dog food.  Let Santa bring an extra box of their favorite dog or cat treat.   Please, keep human food away from your pets, or risk spending the holidays with your favorite veterinarian.  Besides, wouldn’t those cookies look much better on my desk than in your pet’s mouth?

Dr. Susmilch is the owner of Franksville Veterinary Clinic.  Visit Dr. Susmilch and Dr. Hollis at Franksville Veterinary Clinic for more information, or call 262-886-0333.

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