‘Tis the Season

The holiday season is upon us with celebrations and good cheer, but nothing can spoil a good time like a trip to the emergency vet.  A bit of pre planning can help keep the season from becoming a not-so-happy–holiday for you and your furry family members


Food and Festivities

With the holiday trifecta: parties, houseguests and a sad set of puppy eye, your furry friend has a pretty good chance of sneaking into a distressful dietary situation. As you begin to move though your seasonal prep work and holiday hosting, keep in mind:

  • Chocolate: is toxic to dogs and cats. Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount consumed, it’s safer to consider all chocolate off limits for all together.
  • Other tasty treats: sweets and baked goods should be kept out of reach. Not only are they often too rich; xylitol, a common artificial sweetener, often be found in baked goods, candy and chewing gum, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs
  • Ditch the Doggy Bag: Table scraps, including gravy and meat fat –should be kept away from pets. Many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets, including onions, raisins and grapes. During the holidays, when our own diets tend toward extra-rich foods, table scraps can be especially fattening and hard for animals to digest; possibly leading to conditions such as pancreatitis.
  • Got a Bone to Pick: Bones may seem like an extra special treat for your furry friend but in are fact a serious choking hazard. They can also cause sever damage to the enamel of your dogs teeth, or splinter into shards in their mouth; it’s best to forgo the bones altogether and offer a softer, safer treat.


Party Guests and Visitors

Even pets that aren’t normally shy may become nervous with all of the excitement and activity that comes with holiday gatherings.

When entertaining, consider the following:

  • All pets: should have access to a comfortable, quiet place; should they want to retreat. Provide a quiet room with a fan, TV, or music playing, which will create white noise. If you believe your pet is going to feel particularly uncomfortable consider speaking to your veterinarian about medications to help manage the anxiety.
  • Watch the exits: Even if your pets are comfortable around guests, make sure you watch them closely when people are entering or leaving your home.
  • Hello, My Name Is: Identification tags and microchips reunite families. Make sure your pet has proper identification with your current contact information – particularly a microchip with up-to-date, registered information.

Décor and Destruction

While we look at the greenery, lights, and decorations, we see traditions and holiday festivities, our pets often see temptations, treats, and mayhem.

  • Oh Christmas tree: It doesn’t take much for a climbing cat or excited dog to knock over your Christmas tree. Consider using fishing line and tying it to the ceiling or a doorframe to it keep it safe.
  • Adornments and Ornaments: Broken ornaments can cause injuries ranging from minor to severe; if ingested, fragments can cause intestinal blockages or even toxicity. Hang any small or fragile decorations high enough that they won’t break with a wag of a tail or swipe of a paw.
  • Tinsel Town Goes Tinsel Free: Tinsel may add a certain sparkle to your tree but it can prove to be too tempting for some pets. Unfortunately, consuming it can lead to serious, even fatal intestinal obstructions.
  • Festive Flora: Holiday plants are lovely but interactions with some plants could result in an emergency veterinary visit. Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are among the common holiday plants that can be dangerous and even poisonous to your pets.

The ASPCA offers lists of plants that are toxic to dogs and cats.

Myth busting: While poinsettias are not deadly, they can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Potpourris/ Essential Oils: Its tempting to want to surround ourselves with our favourite scents during the holidays but it is important to remember that cats and dogs are far more sensitive to scents than humans and many oils, both ingested and inhaled, are toxic to both cats and dogs.

Always Be Prepared

If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, seek medical attention immediately.

  • ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: 888-426-4435
  • Pet Poison Helpline: 855-764-7661

Signs of distress include: sudden change in behavior, depression, pain, vomiting or diarrhea.

Holiday Schedule

Please be aware of our adjusted holiday schedule. Many of our food and medication suppliers, also have adjusted their schedules causing delays in our deliveries. Please be sure to order your food and medications in advance and be aware of our closures when planning to pick up your items.

We will be CLOSED:

Monday December 25th

Tuesday December 26th

Saturday December 30th


Monday January 1st

If you have an emergency during one of these closures, please contact the Veterinary Emergency Clinic (VEC) at 416-920-2002 or The Central Toronto Veterinary Referral Centre (CTVRC) at 416-784-4444

From all of us at Parkdale Animal Hospital, we thank you for your love and support. We wish you and your pets a safe and happy holiday season and a joyful new year!